More than 150 jobs could be cut as council bosses deal with the continued pressure of government cuts in funding.
North Tyneside Council is looking to make £14m of savings in its 2015-16 budget, with one initiative being a more efficient management structure and 160 job losses.
But officials say it is unlikely any compulsory redundancies will be required, with the losses coming through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said that as a result of the savings, the council is able to protect frontline services with no key facility being considered for closure.
She said: “We have been listening to the people and addressing their concerns.
“We won’t be closing any libraries or leisure centres. Over the last two years, attendance at leisure centres have been increasing.
“With the level of cuts imposed on the council, not all services can continue in their present form.
“However, this budget seeks to protect those services residents have told me are important to them.”
Coun Bruce Pickard added “We started re-organising the council last year.
“We said there is no more than six layers for frontline services and four layers for other services. That is one of the biggest savings in the council.
“We are looking at 160 proposed job cuts. We’ve introduced an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme and had well over 100 people apply.
“Last year, out of the 150 job cuts, only eight were compulsory.”
Mrs Redfearn added: “We’re a public service. We have to think about what’s important to the people we’re serving. That is education, care and living in an environment that is decent.
“As a listening Mayor, in presenting this budget I have taken into account the issues raised and the hardship being experienced by many residents of North Tyneside.”
The final budget, being presented to full council tonight , will see a freeze on council tax levels for the third year running.
Weekly bin collections, fortnightly recycling and the free garden waste collection are also being maintained.
There will also be more investment in roads and pavements, progress on the regeneration of the seafront and Whitley Bay, continuing development on the Swans site on the riverside in Wallsend, and more affordable homes built.
And Mrs Redfearn said it was work on Whitley Bay seafront and the former Swan Hunters site she was looking forward to progressing the most, as it would mean they could then start work on improving North Shields town centre.
She said: “I desperately want to get on with Whitley Bay and Wallsend so we can get on with North Shields.”
Source – Whitley Bay News Guardian, 05 Feb 2015
> UKIP candidates behaving badly…again.
Police had to be called to a public meeting when a UKIP candidate standing in tomorrow’s local elections was thrown out.
A torrent of swearing and shouting led to Stephen Brand being asked to leave the Park Hotel in Tynemouth following his outburst at North Tyneside Question Time run by the People’s Assembly on Monday night.
He is standing in North Tyneside’s Chirton ward for the UK Independence Party against independent candidate Amanda Normand, Labour’s Margaret Reynolds and the Conservative candidate Heather Sarin.
Two officers from Northumbria Police were called to the sea-front hotel at around 7.50pm to calm scenes in the hotel’s ballroom after Mr Brand interrupted a speaker during a discussion on education.
Despite being told by audience members to be quiet and sit down and wait his turn to speak, he continued to shout and became aggressive when event organisers approached him to usher him out of the room.
At one point he shouted that if anyone laid a hand on him “it would be assault”.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “We were called to the Park Hotel in Tynemouth following reports of a man shouting during a meeting.
“Officers attended and at the request of the manager, officers asked him to leave, which he did.”
He received no police caution or warning for his behaviour and willingly left the scene.
However his outburst just days before the election was not welcomed by fellow UKIP candidate Gary Legg, who is standing in the Monkseaton South ward.
The former member of the RAF had been invited as part of a panel of six representatives from political parties for the question-and-answer session and he is now working with the party to clarify how events unfolded on Monday night.
Joan Hewitt, who co-organised the event on behalf of the People’s Assembly, said: “Normally I wouldn’t condone the highlighting of an unpleasant incident but I think this shows that this particular UKIP candidate was not agreeing with the nature of the event, which was participatory.”
Also speaking on the panel was North Tyneside’s current Labour deputy mayor Bruce Pickard, Alan Furness, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in Valley, Martin Collins for the Green Party in Wallsend, Tim Wall standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Benton and David Taws, the independent candidate for Collingwood.
A spokesman for UKIP said the party was conducting an inquiry into the incident, however Mr Brand will still stand on Thursday.
He said: “There is a suggestion of provocation. We would apologise however.
“It will be referred to the national executive committee who will look at everything and the committee may determine what the appropriate action is that should be taken.
“It’s very difficult before an election to do anything else. Ballot papers have gone out and they have got his name on it.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 21 May 2014