THE finance boss at Bradford Council has given a grim warning about the authority's future.

Director of finance Stuart McKinnon-Evans said shrinking budgets meant he expected the Council's spending levels to have halved in size between 2010, when the cuts began, and 2021.

He called it a "seismic shift in the nature of the council" and warned that the public's expectations of what the authority could deliver would have to change.

Mr McKinnon-Evans was speaking at a meeting of the council's Executive yesterday, where he was presenting a report on the authority's financial strategy.

He said: "There is clearly the need for continued and significant cost reductions on all fronts. This, I think, will entail a prolonged but necessary task of resetting expectations among the citizens of Bradford in what can and can't be afforded."

Council leader, Councillor David Green (Lab), said major savings would need to be found regardless of which party won next year's general election.

He said the Council needed to work far more closely with other public services, like the police, Government departments or health services, to start sharing costs.

He said: "We need to be less protective about, 'This is my bit, this is your bit', and to start combining services and combining expenditure."

Cllr Green said he hoped for "sensible and mature conversations over the next couple of months", leading to agreements to deliver more public services jointly.

He added: "We are willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with us."

After the meeting, Conservative group leader Councillor Glen Miller said they had long suggested working more closely with other public bodies, and urged the authority to get on with it.

He said: "I'm pleased to see that the leader of the Labour group and the council is now echoing what our budget has suggested for the past two years. Shared services are the way ahead, but it does mean people sharing."

And Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "The country was in a financial mess and there's still a huge amount of debt to be paid on the country's credit card. Local government will have to bear its share of paying off that debt."

She said she still believed there was duplication which could be removed, calling for better integration between health and social care services, for instance.