MORE cuts are on the horizon as Bury Council how it will make £12 million of savings to balance its books.

Government austerity has seen the council forced to cut £97 million pounds from its budget since 2010, and by April 2020 the cost of caring for children, and for the waste and highways departments, must again be slashed to make up the shortfall.

The axe is set to fall hardest on children’s services, which must make savings of £3.3 million in the face of increasing pressures.

This has left departmental bosses with the option of either cutting loose staff or commissioning fewer services. Neither of which is palatable.

To counteract these cuts Karen Dolton, who heads up the children’s services department, has submitted it would be cheaper, and better for the children involved in the system, if the council were able to reduce the number of young people going into care in Bury. Instead she favours in-house foster carers.

However there is no suggestion as to how the financial blackhole required to guarantee these services would be made up ­— as has been pointed out by Councillor Susan Southworth of the corporate parenting board.

Cllr Southworth labelled such proposals merely an “aspiration” that the council has heard “again and again”.

Nor does this take into account the very large shortage of foster carers ­— described as a “looming crisis” by the national Fostering Network charity.

Demand and spending for children’s social care has been rising over the past decade. But how Bury Council will do more with less remains to be seen.

There is also a strong association between deprivation and contact with children’s services, according to think tank The Education Policy Institute.

And with child poverty rates on the rise, as reported in last week’s Bury Times, it appears this strain is only going to get worse.