Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Year of Reprieve as Council Takes Another Look at Funding

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Year of Reprieve as Council Takes Another Look at Funding

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan O'Donoghue Reporter

NEWCASTLE Citizens Advice Bureau has been given a slight reprieve as cash-strapped council chiefs decide where to swing the axe.

The service, which has helped hundreds of thousands of Tynesiders for more than 76 years, faced uncertainty in December when Newcastle City Council published its draft budget proposals.

A proposed 60% cut in the CAB's core funding left bosses fearing for the future of the service. However, after more than 1,000 people made their concerns known in a budget consultation the council decided to hold off cuts until next year.

The transitional funding will be on the basis of a business plan submitted by each organisation demonstrating how they will adjust to new levels of funding over the next 12 months.

Shona Alexander, chief executive of Newcastle CAB, said: "We welcome this news, we have been in discussions with the council since these plans came forward and it is positive to see that our concerns have been heard. This revised proposal will now give us some breathing space."

The proposed funding cut forms part of a PS30m cuts package the council is planning to implement this year. If approved in March the package will see PS15m stripped from the adult social care budget with 30 full-time adult social workers to lose their jobs and 29.5 children's social workers affected.

On top of this, taxpayers will be hit with a 3.9% hike as they are asked to pay more for decreased services as ongoing austerity measures continue.

Since 2010 the council has had to cut PS190m from its budget and it is not yet known how much the authority will have to cut in coming years though a figure in the region of PS100m has been touted.

To soften the blow similar support, as received by the CAB, will be given to Kenton and Newburn leisure centres - helping them to adjust to lower levels of funding over the next year rather than face immediate reductions. …

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