“The reality on the streets of Stockton South is proving very different.”
And in the rest of the North East too !
Reposted from Louise Baldock- Labour MP for Stockton South
Creating jobs or creative accounting?
You will have seen Tory boasts that unemployment is coming down, a million more people are now in work and the private sector has created many of these, but dig below the surface and we see a very different story.
I met a man in Parkfield, Stockton last week who told me he had a full time job but was made redundant. He has finally found work, 12 hours a week in Debenhams, and has been removed from the claimant figures. It might be a job, but it’s not full-time work and isn’t economically viable.
Last month I met a man in Thornaby who has just found work one day a week in a community centre in Co Durham where amongst other things he has to fundraise to pay his own wages; he was full time…
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More jobs will have to go at Durham County Council as civic centre chiefs look again at one of the region’s biggest series of budget cuts.
Over six years Durham will lose some £224m, and the latest plan to find £100m is seeing the council prepare for further service cut backs.
Council leader Simon Henig said the council has already lost more than £113m, and is well into current plans set to make some 2,000 staff redundant by the next financial year.
But even that total is now likely to be passed as the council look to the next three years of cuts.
After a lengthy consultation process in which the public was asked to use a Monopoly board-style game to identify priorities, the council is now ready to go with further cuts to museums, arts, some library support services and grass cutting.
Mr Henig said: “We are looking at the arts, but no one will see their entire contribution cut. We have a number of facilities across the county, the museum, the theatre and so on, but no one will lose out completely. It could lead to changes such as opening hours, but trying to avoid being too dramatic in these areas.”
Other savings confirmed include a reduction in school crossing staff and the switching off or dimming down of some street lights.
The leader said that, of the new savings identified, many would be met by back office cuts and efficiencies. “But you cannot keep cutting this,” Mr Henig said, “Sooner or later all you are left with is front line services to cut.”
He added: “Next year is when we will have to make some incredibly difficult choices about our services. The Government can’t just keep cutting this. You can’t look for efficiencies each year, they run out and then it is front line that goes. All councils will reach this point. We have been in a better position than some as we are the biggest council in the North East and have been able to find more savings, but we will reach that point next year where it is our front line that has to suffer. It’s inevitable.
“What we have asked for from the Government is fairness, for the North East to face the same reduction as all councils, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
“But we have instead seen councils in the South East and Home Counties having increases in spending powers, on the Government’s own figures.
“If we had the same reduction all round there would still have to be cuts but at least it would be fair across the country.”
> Is he really suprised ? As I’ve said before, neither Tories or Lib Dems, seperately or in unholy alliance, are likely to win power in the North East, so why should they care ? Well, yeah, plenty of reasons, but none that would occur to them.
More to the point, what we want to know is what Labour will do to rebalance things, should they win the next election. Very little, I suspect, but I’m up for a nice suprise. Not holding my breath though…
Council treasurer Don McLure set out the jobs risk of the Government not listening to those concerns.
He said: “The forecast we did on the first plan said 1,950 job losses, and that is likely to be the same as imagined over four years. That takes us up to 2015. There is another £100m to come, we need to look at them in more detail, but we are predominantly an employer, 70% of our budget is staffing we will have to look at that again.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 15 Jan 2014
One in every five firefighters in Tyne and Wear could be made redundant after the region’s fire service announced proposals to cut over £5 million from its budget.
The authority is consult on three options, including using smaller response vehicles or axing up to six engines.
Option one includes “standing down” engines on quieter nights and reducing fire fighter cover at some stations.
Option 2 would see the same cuts plus the closure of community fire stations in Wallsend and Gosforth with services moving to a new facility at Benton.
A third option sees closures in Sunderland.
If all options are backed then 131 firefighting jobs – 20% of the workforce – would go. An aerial ladder platform would also be lost.
Brigade Secretary Dave Turner said “We have made it clear in all recent discussions with senior managers that we will oppose any further cuts to frontline services.
“These are the most devastating cuts in the service’s history and will mean firefighters and the public will be at far greater risk if these cuts go ahead.
“It also means that areas of Tyne and Wear will be left without cover for extended periods – again increasing the risk to both the public and firefighters alike.”
Fire service bosses will decide on the cuts in January.
Source – Newcastle Journal 23 Oct 2013