Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Budget Cuts Putting Public at Risk in Parts of the North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Budget Cuts Putting Public at Risk in Parts of the North East

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA HILL Reporter laura.hill@ncjmedia.com @laurahillnews

VITAL services in the North East are collapsing as budgets are cut, council staff have said. Local Government spending cuts have left councils in the North East unable to meet the needs of local communities and, in some cases, are putting the public at risk, a Unison survey has found.

A survey reveals that 78% of council workers have no confidence in the future of local services, and 48% are thinking of leaving their jobs for less stressful work elsewhere.

The survey - of more than 700 local Government employees working across all services - found that 58% say residents don't receive help and support when they need it, and 46% are not confident vulnerable residents are safe and cared for.

Council staff who took part shared stories of families living in mouldy, overcrowded properties, fly-tipping being left for weeks, increasing rodent populations, residents' cars damaged by huge potholes, and vulnerable children, young people and adults not getting the help and support they need.

A recent National Audit Office report revealed Government funding for local authorities in England has fallen by an estimated 49.1% (in real terms) from 2010-11 to 2017-18.

And in Unison's survey, an overwhelming 82% of respondents in the North East region admitted these cuts have had a negative impact on their ability to do the job.

Almost half of those who responded believe their council no longer delivers quality services, and 41% feel that their employer doesn't make the right decisions for the public. Additionally, almost two-thirds (62%) are concerned about the financial situation of their council.

Council workers identified a lack of front-line staff, adult social care, safeguarding children and young people, a lack of housing options and road repairs as the biggest challenges facing local authorities the North East. More than 80% of those surveyed said there had been redundancies in their departments and two thirds don't feel secure in their jobs. …

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