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Newcastle City Council to cut 100 jobs in the face of £60m funding hole

Newcastle City Council has announced it will cut 100 jobs as the authority reveals it needs to make £60m in savings over the next three years to balance its budget.

The city council has proposed raising council tax by 2.95% and implementing the government’s additional 1% adult social care precept, and cutting around 40 jobs next year in order to make the £20m savings it needs for 2019.

It published the detailed proposals for 2019 and broader plans for the following two years as part of a public consultation, also stating that it would work closely with trade unions to try and avoid compulsory redundancies.

Newcastle City Council said it has now been forced to make £327m worth of savings since 2010 due to austerity, which works out as £696 per household, and now faces “another three years of difficult decisions.”

Pat Richie, the chief executive, said that government cuts, an unprecedented demand for children and adult social care, and uncertainty surrounding Brexit had all contributed to the funding gap.

She said: “We continue to face a substantial financial challenge. There is no doubt the sustained period of austerity has had a profound impact on the council and city.

“We are clear our proposals involve difficult choices and this has become increasingly challenging each year. We are able to overcome these challenges only through the creativity and commitment of our staff and partners.”

Other savings proposed include reducing funding to museums and galleries in the city, closing the City Library on Sundays and early three days a week and reviewing parking charges and disable parking badges.

The council is also seeking new ways to raise income such as renting office space at the Civic Centre and increasing council tax on empty properties, and cabinet will consider the plan next Monday.

Nick Forbes, the leader of the council, said: “The three-year plan presented here confirms two essential truths about our city; that the damage caused by government austerity is far from over, but also that Newcastle remains a national success story.”

On top of Council Tax bills comes the government’s adult social care precept, asking local families to pay the care costs which government once covered.

“What all this means is that as we look to our future we know we are on our own, and that in order to succeed we must grow our city’s economy.”

Back in September, Newcastle City Council announced that their budget was £3.5m in the red mainly due to unprecedented pressures on children’s social care, but there was better news last week when it announced it was part of three councils involved in a £600m North of Tyne devolution deal.

Image credit - daverhead

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