MORE than 1,000 jobs could be lost in a town to pay for protecting its most vulnerable residents.

Ray Mallon, Mayor of Middlesbrough, said that next year’s budget cuts had doubled from £11m to £22m due to the escalating number of children in care and elderly people with dementia.

Speaking this evening, he said predictions made this summer that these groups would monopolise 75 per cent of the total budget by 2017/18 had now risen to 77 or 78 per cent.

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And as a result estimated cuts from 2010 to 2020 will soar from £137m to £156m, with £67m needed to be sliced from its services over the next three years.

“There are a number of financial pressures but our main focus is what we spend on children and old people,” he said.

“Fifty-one per cent of the budget at this present time is spent on children and looking after the elderly and we know that is going to go up as more people are living longer and more people suffer from dementia and other such conditions.”

He told the full council meeting at Middlesbrough Town Hall that over the next three years some public sector services will go and others will be reduced.

“This council will shrink, this council will be different,” he said.

“I will not disagree with some reports that job losses could be between 1,200 and 1,500 but if we implement the mitigating measures we can take it to nearer 1,000.”

Middlesbrough Council currently has a staff of about 2,500 full-time employees.

The council is rolling out a Change Programme headed by a ‘director of transformation' to help it modernise over the next decade while grappling with the coalition government’s austerity cuts.

A document outlining the new initiative said: “We cannot afford to run some services in the way we have or in some instances, at all. By doing things differently however we can be more efficient, more cost effective and deliver a better service to you.”

Mr Mallon will announce a list of recommended savings to reduce next year’s budget by £22m at the town hall on Wednesday, November 20.