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‘Blowing £34million on a new town hall in era of spending cuts?’ Union chiefs slam Trafford Council’s plans

By Georgina Stubbs

Union chiefs have slammed Trafford Borough Council’s spending spree on a new town hall – in light of massive spending cuts revealed this week.

The council have announced that they will have to cut their budget by £33.3million – putting more jobs in jeopardy despite spending £30million on a new town hall.

In light of nearly 1,000 jobs lost over the last 24 months fears are rising as to the number that may be lost with the new cut in budget despite increased spending.

The council have stated that the redevelopment of the town hall will save £5million over 25 years.

Paul McDermott from UNISON said: “All these cuts are on the back of a new £34million town hall.

“It is amazing that the council are still finding the money for this in light of the redundancies.

Leader of Trafford Council, Councillor Matthew Colledge, said: “Trafford Town Hall in its current state is not fit for purpose, it is expensive to maintain and is a drain on public money.

Labour leader, Councillor David Acton said that over £26million has already been spent refurbishing the building and a further £3million decanting staff to other sites while the work is carried out.

He added: “The Conservatives have borrowed this money for the refurbishment of the town hall and we will be paying back £1.4million per year over 25 years, I do not believe they will make the savings they claim.

“In times of austerity, when all these cuts and job losses are happening, it is not the right time to be spending this kind of money.”

In a press statement the council stated that ‘the redevelopment will save £5million over 25 years.’

Cllr Acton has called for the opposition to be clear and transparent about what is going on and what is expected to happen.

He added: “Services are being diminished to residents regarding the cost of re-grading or re-scaling downwards, this takes money away from the services for the residents of Trafford.”

Cllr Acton said: “It is staggering that they are considering cutting £33million on top of recent cuts and job losses.

He added: “The conservatives don’t tell anyone anything they don’t want people to know.”

Cllr Acton told MM that the land the new Tesco is being built on at the site on Chester Road, that the £21million raised from the sale of the land was passed from Tesco to Trafford Council, who then gave it to Lancashire County Cricket Ground to redevelop the ground.

He added: “This money should not have gone to a private members club.”

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