COUNCILLORS are beginning the process of identifying how they can slash a further £9million from the budget.

That is bound to lead to more cuts in services and even more jobs losses.

Over the past three years council tax bills have been frozen and, at the same time, government restrictions on spending have seen £45million cut from Barnsley Council's net budget.

Now a further £9million of saving will have to be found and councillors admit all the decisions from here on are going to be more difficult than ever before.

The local authority has already cut jobs and reduced services to meet financial deadlines. Dozens of jobs are potentially still at risk after £9million of cuts were identified in July.

Now a further £9million has to be cut before the end of March.

That will mean in just four years the amount of money Barnsley Council has to spend on local people has shrunk from £246million to £183million.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton says he's angry at what he says is the 'blatantly unfair system' which means local authorities in the south of England are proportionately being given a lot more money than places in the north.

"I'm not asking for preferential treatment for Barnsley, all I ask is for everyone to be treated the same for basic fairness, but that's not what's happening," he said.

Cllr Houghton says after so many years of cuts no service is safe and there are no easy decisions.

"The harsh facts are that whatever we decide to do will impact on local people - these are very difficult times and we're having to make difficult choices," he said.