Berkshire

Mixed fortunes for Newbury courts under budget cuts

  • 14 December 2010
  • From the section Berkshire
Mary Cameron
Image caption David Cameron's mother, Mary, was a magistrate in Newbury for 30 years

The county court in Newbury will be closed under cuts announced by the government.

But the town's magistrates' court, where Prime Minister David Cameron's mother Mary presided for 30 years, was retained.

It was revealed on Tuesday that 93 magistrates' and 49 county courts are to be shut in England and Wales.

The government said the current system was "unsustainable", but Labour accused the coalition of "crude cost-cutting".

'Not like Facebook'

In a statement to the Commons, Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said changes to the court system would mean a "better, more efficient and more modern" system of justice, with premises modernised.

But, for Labour, shadow justice minister Andrew Slaughter said: "Courts are not like Facebook or Tesco.

"They are an important part of many communities, in the same way that people regard police stations or town halls."

It is estimated that the closure programme will save the government at least £15m a year in running costs, plus an extra £22m in maintaining the buildings.

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