Tyne & Wear

Newcastle Council budget plan agreed by cabinet

Newcastle Civic Centre
Image caption Newcastle City Council is cutting £100m over three years

Plans by Newcastle City Council to save £100m over the next three years have been agreed by its cabinet.

The council is axing 1,300 jobs as it attempts to cut £100m from its budget over three years.

Its original plans were modified after residents, community groups and partners came forward to help keep some closure-threatened facilities open.

The updated proposals will now be considered by the full council for approval on 6 March.

'Proud spirit'

The Labour leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Nick Forbes, said: "This has attracted a lot of comment - quite understandably - but I believe it is important to be frank about what the city faces so we can work together in good time to try to find alternatives.

"I am proud of the spirited response from our communities which will enable some facilities and services to continue whilst we set about trying to minimise the 1,300 job losses in the council - but no one should be mistaken about the scale of the challenge public services face."

Liberal Democrat opposition leader, Councillor David Faulkner, said the budget process had been dealt with in an "unprofessional" manner, and more could have been done to save services.

The updated budget plans state that the council will end or reduce funding for seven of its 18 libraries in June.

A proposal to close two respite centres for people with learning disabilities has been placed on hold. But Cheviot View in Longbenton and Castledene in South Gosforth could still close in 2014.

The council said that the city would retain a "comprehensive" library service. It remains hopeful that investment will emerge to allow Fenham and Cruddas Park libraries to remain open.

Talks are also ongoing with groups interested in taking over libraries at Jesmond and High Heaton, but Dinnington, Moorside and Denton Burn will shut their doors in June. Others will close in March 2015 unless a solution can be found.

Community partnerships are also being sought as a means of keeping leisure facilities open.

The council had originally proposed a 100% cut to its support for the city's arts and cultural organisations but it has now announced an annual fund of £600,000 to support the sector. It is also proposing a freeze in council tax at current levels for 2013-14.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites