Real anger tonight at Bolton town hall as the (Labour) council met to agree cuts to the tune of about £18 million.
Five libraries will go, along with considerable sections of the adults’ and children’s services budgets – will fill in those details when I’ve lifted them all from the budget (the papers are here). Major job losses are expected – some say upwards of 1000. I spoke to a lot of people at the protest tonight and they are all expecting to see significant redundancies at the council. They all said Bolton couldn’t afford to take that hit, either. Unemployment in Bolton (especially youth unemployment) is increasing fast and is above national and regional averages.
Exchanges between local people and councillors (particularly Labour councillors, it has to be said) were fiery and unpleasant. People said loud and clear that they thought Labour councillors should be on the steps protesting against the cuts with them. I took a few short videos just to show the extent of the anger. It was very real and very justified. People are frightened of losing services and frightened of losing their jobs – and who wouldn’t be, in this environment.
And yes – one councillor did tell a protesting worker to fuck off. I saw that myself.