Fears ‘savage cuts’ will lead to problems in budget

Opposition councillors fear a budget due before council will leave the authority in a financial mess while also affect key services.

Conservative members on North Tyneside Council say they will be objecting to Mayor Norma Redfearn’s budget at the authority’s meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

Councillors say they have serious concerns about the ‘savage cuts’ within the budget proposals while there are proposals to increase borrowing, up by 70 per cent, which will have to be met by residents.

Among their concerns are proposals to cut half the staff in mental health services, reduce the staff dealing with young offenders, disposing of fostering and adoption staff, cutting funding for social care, and chopping environmental works.

They also hit out at plans to prevent local drama and pantomime groups from using the Playhouse Whitley Bay.

Coun Judith Wallace, Conservative group leader, said: “These budget proposals from the Labour Mayor mean savage cuts to services for residents including older people and children leaving foster care.

“At the same time, she is taking out huge extra debt; this is financially irresponsible.”

But Mrs Redfearn hit back, saying the Conservatives had resorted to scaremongering.

“This is the first time that the Conservative group leader and Conservative councillors have acknowledged the seriousness of the cuts imposed by their own coalition government,” she said.

“Even at this stage in the budget setting process for 2014-15 they have still not indicated any alternative measures to alleviate the savage cuts and have instead, once again, resorted to scaremongering.

“This is extremely disappointing as misinformation issued by the Conservative Group has created concerns and anguish for so many residents.

“It’s disappointing that they have to resort to this each time rather than coming up with solutions.

“I will be presenting a budget that is well thought through, will meet the challenge and create opportunities for the residents of North Tyneside.”