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Gateshead Council to cut 104 jobs as it blames £29m budget deficit on ‘broken’ government funding

Around 104 jobs are to be lost and £29m worth of savings need to be made at Gateshead Council in its 2019-20 budget – as the authority’s leader slams the government for putting it in this “desperate situation.”

Cabinet members at the council have agreed an extensive list of savings and a council tax rise of 3.99%, which comes on top of £157m of cuts made by the authority since 2010.

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said it was facing an enormous challenge in the face of “massive and rapid reductions in government funding.”

Gannon said the council has been hit harder than almost any other council in the country: “It's just not right and it makes me angry that the people of Gateshead are not being given a fair chance by this government.”

The council now has £900 less to spend per household in Gateshead than it did in 2010, has cut more than 2,400 posts and unveiled its provisional budget plans for 2019-20 last November.

The budget cuts now approved by the council’s cabinet will see the authority scrap its pest control services, football pitch and bowling green maintenance, and the loss of 104 full time posts.

Gannon said: “Despite the huge financial challenge, the council continues to focus on fighting for a better future for Gateshead and make sure the people who need our help the most get it.

“Huge government cuts mean we can't do what we once did, but we're committed to reinvigorating our local economy.”

At the cabinet meeting, councillor Gary Haley said the council was working with “a broken system of local government finance.”

Council leader Gannon added: “We're working with other councils to fight for a fair and adequate approach to local government funding but despite our strong arguments, the government just isn't listening.

“It's impossible to plan for the future as after next year we don't know how local government will be financed.”

“We don't take the decision to use reserves lightly, we know this only buys us a little more time, and once they're gone, they're gone.”

A full council meeting on 21 February will be held to discuss the budget ahead of final approval.


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