Newcastle City Council 'ready to cut 1,300 jobs'


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The Independent Online

A North East council is set to cut at least 1,300 jobs as it looks to reduce its budget by £90 million.

Newcastle City Council has outlined proposals, which will also see ten libraries close, equal to a cut of £760 for each household in the city.

Described by the council as one of its "darkest days", the authority has blamed a "grossly unfair" cut to their Government grant.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Nick Forbes, said: "This is one of the darkest days for public service in Newcastle. Cutting services is not what I went into politics to do.

"The cut in Government grant is grossly unfair, at a time when more and more families are turning to us for help. Financially, this has put us in an impossible position from which there is no escape.

"We will not abandon the residents of this city, but as we cease to provide some services they will have to do more for themselves and expect less from the council.

"Despite the tough choices we are forced to make, we will apply a fairness test to every decision by listening to residents and analysing future needs."

They also announced that bin collections will move from weekly to fortnightly, the City Pool will be closed and responsibility for four leisure centres will be transferred.

Mr Forbes said: "We remain a very ambitious city; focused on attracting and growing new businesses for employment.

"That is why we will be pressing ahead with a capital programme of just over £400 million providing super-fast broadband, better transport networks, new employment skills and affordable homes.

"At the same time we will not let up on lobbying Government to get a fair deal for Newcastle.

"I urge residents to tell us what they think of our proposals over the next few months so we can join together in one loud voice to tell the Government: enough is enough."

A Communities and Local Government Spokesman said: "Council funding is distributed in a fair and sustainable way across all parts of the country - rural and urban, metropolitan and shire and higher in those parts of the country with the highest level of need.

"This year formula grant - the main general grant from Government to local authorities - was on average £300 per head more in the North East than the South East with Newcastle receiving £653 per head, compared for example to £150 per head in Windsor and Maidenhead.

"The funding settlement for councils will be announced later this year, but given councils account for a quarter of all public spending, it is vital they continue to play their part in tackling the inherited budget deficit by making sensible savings through better procurement, greater transparency and sharing back offices."