Tyne & Wear

Workers protest at Newcastle Council's £90m cuts plan

Newcastle city council cuts protest
Image caption Workers lobbied councillors going into the civic centre

Workers facing redundancy mounted a protest in Newcastle as the city council discussed plans to cut £90m from its budget.

The authority has said 1,300 of its 10,500 workforce will have to go and a host of services cut back or scrapped.

A range of options, including library closures, scrapping arts funding and reducing social care services, have been put out to public consultation.

Unions claim the proposed cuts will hit the most vulnerable in the city.

The council has blamed "grossly unfair" cuts in central government grants for the situation.

Leader of the Labour-run council, Nick Forbes, said: "I can absolutely understand people's anger.

'Strong measures'

"We are facing cuts which mean that over the next three years we will be losing more than a third of our budget.

"But I say to people who have been protesting that we are not the real target. The government has cut our funding far harder and far deeper than anywhere else around the country."

Clare Williams, regional convenor of Unison, which organised the protest, said: "The impact of the government's austerity measures are now being realised across the region.

"It is imperative that we send a strong message to the government and councils that we will defend both jobs and services in the public sector."

The government has stressed that reductions in Newcastle's grant allocation are not disproportionate to other areas of the country and are necessary to tackle the deficit.

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