Weddings cost more as spending cuts hit Hackney

Getting married and playing football in Hackney will become more expensive as cuts begin to bite in the borough.

Details of the town hall’s plans for savings began to emerge this week as crunch time on next year’s budget looms.

Hackney is to increase costs for hiring halls or clubs for wedding parties or similar events.

The recently re-opened Stoke Newington town hall will rise from �250 for a Saturday afternoon to �400.

Hackney will lose more central government funding than almost any other London borough in 2011/12 - with a reduction of �40 million.

Councillors are set to vote on spending cuts at the annual budget meeting on Wednesday (March 2).

Although the exact impact of the cuts is yet to become clear, the Gazette can reveal that the cost of hiring venues and sports facilities will go up, the amount of money spent on services such as adult social care will go down, and the number of library staff in Hackney will fall.

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Almost 190 council workers have now accepted voluntary redundancy, according to the town hall, but trade unionists fear the total number of public sector job losses could reach 1,000.

Angry protests are expected at the town hall on Wednesday.

The budget decision comes after children’s charity Save the Children revealed about 10,000 children in the borough are living in the deepest poverty - making Hackney one of the worst places in the country for child poverty.

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, has pledged to protect the services most important to residents and find savings in the back offices.

“While it is not possible for Hackney to escape the impact of the Government’s spending cuts, this budget is evidence of the council’s determination and commitment to shielding residents from the national reduction in funding for our public services,” he said.