More jobs set to go at Newcastle City Council as budget cut again

Newcastle City Council has finalised the latest round of its three year budget which sees some £108m axed from city spending

Council leader Nick Forbes
Council leader Nick Forbes

Hundreds of council jobs will be axed this year as planned budget cuts continue at a North East authority.

Newcastle Council has finalised the latest round of its three year budget which sees some £108m axed from city spending.

The move sees 350 jobs go this year, part of a 1,300 overall jobs blow announced last year.

Council finance chiefs say they are part way through £37m of cuts this year and have another £34.9m to save in the next financial year.

Residents will get to have their say as the detailed plans go out for consultation this week.

Included in the final budget document is a promise to use a Government grant to freeze council tax.

If passed, the freeze will be the fourth for Newcastle, while councils such as Northumberland have said they will have to introduce a 1.99% rise to offset huge spending cuts.

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle Council, blamed the Government for city job losses.

He said: “With unprecedented reductions in Government funding, we are straining every sinew to save jobs and keep vital public services in the city.

“Residents, community groups and partners have come forward over the last year and as a result of their co-operation and commitment we have managed to save libraries, respite centres and other valuable services.

“But many of the cuts that have been announced by the Government over the past couple of years still have to be made, which will mean many more tough decisions have to be taken as our funding is slashed even further.”

He added: “As well as working hard to deliver as much as we can in this age of austerity, we will continue to do everything in our power to lobby Government with our partners in the Core Cities and the Local Government Association for a fundamentally fairer funding arrangement for councils.

“And in recognition of the cost of living crisis that many face, we are proposing to freeze council tax for the fourth year running.

“These budget proposals therefore offer fair choices in tough times.”

All of Newcastle’s 20 Sure Start centres are up for review as city councilors iron out their final budget proposals for the year 2014/2015.

Management jobs also face the axe and adults with learning difficulties living in residential care elsewhere in the North East will be moved back to Newcastle.

A council customer service centre in Kenton will also be replaced by an unmanned computer kiosk and free phone.

To view the full budget report, Fair Choices for Tough Times, visit the council’s website: www.newcastle.gov.uk/budget2014-15

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