Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Council cuts spending by £25m

Isle of Wight Council sign
Image caption The cuts will be subject to a consultation before the budget is finalised in February

More than £25m of spending cuts have been approved by councillors on the Isle of Wight.

Protesters gathered outside County Hall in Newport on Tuesday evening ahead of a council meeting, which lasted four and a half hours.

The cuts will be spread over two years with £18m in the first year.

Some 500 job losses are expected, along with cuts to services, including the closure of the island's tourist information centres.

'Knee-jerk action'

Council leader David Pugh told the BBC: "I think our approach has to be about being upfront and honest with people.

"It is very difficult because we recognise this has a human cost. These are people we know, people who live here on the island, who we see on a day to day basis.

"The reality is whoever was running the council would be making decisions of this nature and it's very daunting and sobering to see ourselves having to make decisions which will have such an impact."

One protester told the BBC: "Over the years we have been investing our council tax money into building our services up and to take such drastic action - it feels very knee-jerk and without forward planning.

"People are angry and I think as time goes on and more public get to realise how it's going to affect them individually, I think there will be more anger."

The decision will be subject to a consultation, lasting 90 days. The council is due to set its budget in February.

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