Newcastle City Council Agree Budget

26 February 2013, 05:54

Newcastle City Council's proposals to save £100million over the next three years have been agreed by the Cabinet - it'll go to a big meeting next week.

The Fair Choices for Tough Times budget plan for 2013-2016, will be considered by full council for approval on Wednesday, March 6th, along with a freeze in council tax.

The proposals have been changed slightly after residents, community groups and partners came forward with a commitment to help keep some closure-threatened facilities open.

Although the council's financial position has not improved, it has managed to make some amendments with offers of help, including:
· Saving some libraries from closure to complement the new core service
· Safeguarding the future of the City Hall
· Removing the proposal to close Castle Dene and Cheviot View respite centres after similar centres in the region closed during the consultation creating potential new demand
· Continue free parking in council multi-storey car parks after 5pm

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said:
"The scale and unfair nature of the Government cuts that the council is facing is eye watering. That is why we have set out to be open and honest about what the Government;s austerity programme means in practice, and why we are looking three years ahead at the impact of the cuts we will have to implement.

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.

Our proposals focus on protecting the most vulnerable such as older people with dementia and children at risk of violent or sexual abuse; set a balanced budget as we must do by law, and invest £450m through our capital programme to show investors that we are serious about making Newcastle a working city.

Getting people into work is one of the best ways we will deal with the challenges of the future."

The council is legally required to set a budget and council tax for 2013-14.

While the current proposals set out the proposed budget for 2014-15 and 2015-16, the council will meet again to consider any amendments to the proposals in March 2014 for 2014-15 budget and in March 2015 for the 2015-2016 budget.

The council's latest budget papers can be found HERE

The council received 50,000 comments and more than a dozen petitions about its budget proposals - a record response.

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