THERE were no amendments and no new proposals as Bexley Council’s cabinet recommended a £36m package of cuts over the next three years.

Councillors were met with protestors as they arrived for the cabinet meeting on Monday night (February 28).

Carers and supporters of people with learning disabilities demonstrated their anger at council plans to limit the amount of time the adults will be able to spend at day centres, after reassessing their needs.

But as the meeting began, council leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill told the protestors, who filled the public gallery and carried placards, the reassessments were nothing to do with budget cuts.

She also announced Bexley would freeze its council tax for the coming year and criticised the council’s nine Labour councillors for their lack of ideas, saying: “Not much came out of the scrutiny committees from Labour.”

However it seems likely Labour may propose an alternative budget at the council meeting on March 9.

Cabinet members also expressed their disappointment at the lack of responses from the public during a three-month consultation on the proposals.

Councillor Linda Bailey said: “I am pleased there were responses, but I was disappointed at how many.”

Overall there were 829 resplies to the online survey, plus 500 letters and completed survey forms.

The government has “front loaded” its demands so the largest savings will have to be made in the first of the three years.

Bexley will have to save £19m in the coming year.

Proposals include cutting the cost of transport for children with special educational needs, community-run libraries, raising the care package threshholds for children and cuts in grants to voluntary groups.

Councillor Colin Campbell said Bexley would have to save an average of £1m a month over the next three years, with “backroom” operations delivering most of the savings.

Cllr Campbell said: “It is inevitable there will be job losses and pay freezes.

“Our staff have had a very difficult year and have a difficult year ahead.”

It is expected 280 council workers will lose their jobs over the next three years.

The budget cuts go to the council meeting on March 9 for approval.