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Union protest over council cuts

3 February 09 15:14 GMT

Union members have held a demonstration at Nottingham City Council over plans to cut hundreds of jobs.

The council says it is facing a £20m budget shortfall and insists rising costs and falling income mean its wage bill must be lowered.

A reduction of 350 full-time posts, which could affect up to 400 employees, is being discussed by managers.

But Unison said no other council in the region faced such harsh cuts, which it says will damage vital services.

Agency fees

Dozens of people gathered in the Old Market Square to try to persuade the council to change its mind.

Graham Chapman, deputy leader of the city council, denied any accusations of mismanagement.

"It is a case of the market going down, us being dependant on property and making a big shift towards child protection and children's services, and this year we are pumping in an extra £5m at least," he said.

But Peter Savage, from Unison, said the numbers did not add up.

"I think we can put up a fight, I think we can save these jobs.

"We have looked at the council's budget and last year they spent £12m on consultants and this year they want to save £12m from staff.

"They spent £15m on agency staff which is more than the amount of savings they need to make."

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