Service Transformation

08.03.19

‘Only so much more we can do’: Newcastle City Council confirms £20m cuts and job losses

Newcastle City Council has rubber stamped £20m worth of cuts as the authority reaches £327m of savings since 2010.

The council needs to reduce its spending by £60m over the next three years, and its latest wave of budget cuts will see council tax raised, library hours reduced, and disabled drivers having to pay for parking.

Councillors have now approved the proposals, which will also see 40 jobs lost from the local authority.

The council’s leader Nick Forbes said there is “only so much more” it could do to protect frontline services, but the Lib Dem opposition said the budget contained “deep structural and conceptual flaws.”

Newcastle City Council revealed plans to cut 100 jobs back in November in order to tackle its £60m deficit over the next three years, warning it faces “another three years of difficult decisions.”

The authority has now been forced to make £327m worth of savings since 2010, the equivalent of £696 per household.

Finance spokesperson Colin Ferguson criticised the government’s uncertainty around local government funding, stating that there was “no vision, no idea of what local government looks like in the city in the 2020s and beyond.”

The Lib Dems had suggested alternative cuts, but Forbes shut down the calls, accusing them of “complete financial illiteracy” and “cheap political shots.”

The council leader said: “We have re-imagined and reinvented ourselves in every way we can and this has delivered significant savings.

“But, despite our best efforts, the scale of government funding reductions and increasing demand for services mean there is only so much more we can do.

“It feels like every year we are running harder and harder just to try and stand still.”

The newly approved proposals will see council tax raised by 3.95%, blue badge holders will have to pay for parking, and library and museum hours cut down.

Image credit - SolStock

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