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Old January 17th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #21
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Northumbria Police may axe hundreds of jobs
by Andy Hughes, Evening Chronicle, January 17th 2011


COST-CUTTING measures forced by the Government could see up to 500 fewer police on Tyneside’s streets in the coming years.

Northumbria Police chiefs have been ordered to impose a recruitment freeze and will not be allowed to take on any more staff until numbers are down by around 12%, the Chronicle understands.

Hundreds of the force’s civilian staff are also expected to lose their jobs. This announcement is expected to be made official either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Today a senior police source told how he fears the cuts could lead to a less effective force.

The detective, who did not wish to be named, said: “This news could cripple Northumbria Police due to lack of man power.

“However, it’s not the force’s fault. It’s the Government who are imposing these cuts.


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Old January 18th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #22
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Anger over forced sell-off of key North East assets
by William Green, The Journal, January 18th 2011


MINISTERS in London want to begin selling valuable regional assets from April and could accelerate the closure of the North East’s development agency, The Journal can reveal.

Moves to sell up to £500m of assets held by regional development agencies (RDAs) – including One North East’s £150m property portfolio – are set to begin within three months. And RDAs could be shut down this year rather than 2012 as previously promised by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson accused ministers of operating a “scorched earth policy” that risked the region’s economic future.

Development chiefs have also warned of “major risks” in selling assets and bringing forward closure of RDAs.

It has left further questions marks over assets such as Newcastle Science Central development – already £38m short after One North East was forced to hold back any further cash help.

Labour MP Mr Wilson said: “These assets could have been developed with a sustainable approach that would have been developed by the RDAs.

“Fundamentally if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The approach is just a scorched earth policy.”

He added One North East had been the “main dynamo” in developing the regional economy by supporting businesses, helping the region export more than it imported.


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Old January 24th, 2011, 11:10 AM   #23
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North forced to bear the brunt of massive cuts
by Amy Hunt, The Journal, January 24th 2011


Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland

PLANS to slash the country's debt through massive spending cuts will hit the North much harder than the South, new research concludes.

Think-tank Centre for Cities has highlighted a division in how different parts of the UK are recovering from recession and are placed to absorb cuts to the public sector.

Sunderland is named in the Cities Outlook 2011 report as one of the most vulnerable places in the country, prompting a backlash from the council’s boss.

The report pulls together figures on things like unemployment, the number of people on benefits, average earnings and the number of public versus private sector jobs.

It finds certain parts of the country will be much harder hit by forthcoming cuts to welfare and the public sector, as the Government tries to reduce the country’s deficit and will find it much harder to bounce back from recession.

Cities in the North East and North West are most likely to be affected, with those in the South and South East least hard hit.

Sunderland is said to be among those cities with “weaker private sector economies” which rely heavily on public sector employment.


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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #24
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Alarm over cuts to arts in the North East
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, January 27th 2011



THE threat to arts in the North East has been raised in Parliament, with a warning that the Government is risking the region’s cultural renaissance.

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell has called on ministers to look again at support for theatre groups as funding cuts threaten to undermine the city’s cultural achievements over the last 10 years.

Millions of pounds have been wiped off funding for North East arts organisations as part of a 30% cuts to Arts Council budgets and further blows passed on the by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Ms McKinnell says this and funding cuts at Newcastle Council will see touring companies left with no choice but to miss out Newcastle, and jobs likely to go across Tyneside.


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Old February 2nd, 2011, 11:58 AM   #25
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Warning storm is brewing over funding cuts
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, February 2nd 2011


ACADEMICS have warned the Government its funding cuts will hit the North East like a “perfect storm”.

In the latest row over the Government’s multi-billion pound deficit reduction plans, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has been told his “unfair” funding cuts will disadvantage the North over the South. Research from Newcastle University has been commissioned by Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon, which he held up yesterday to show a North-South divide in the Government’s approach to cuts.

The former police officer accused the coalition Government of carrying out the cuts “for purely ideological reasons”.

At his side was Newcastle University’s Professor John Tomaney, head of the university’s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Prof Tomaney, who described the cuts as “the perfect storm”. He has analysed a series of grant reductions which will see more than £500m taken from North East councils over the next four years and lead to some 4,000 jobs going.

He said: “We can see from this research that the impact of the cuts will not be felt evenly across the country".


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Old February 2nd, 2011, 01:10 PM   #26
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Newcastle City Council consults residents on Budget cuts

The City is inviting comments from residents, using a simple form with tick-boxes, about the options for reducing expenditure in 2011-12.
Here : http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/condiary...7?opendocument

Quote:
The impact of government spending reductions on Newcastle
Newcastle City Council has been planning for reductions in public spending for some time. However the scale of the cuts announced in the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review last year was higher than we expected.

As result of cuts to the main government grant to local councils, and the reduction or removal to other government grants, external funding to Newcastle City Council (including schools) will fall from £410m to £376m - a reduction of £34m. When you add in spending pressures arising from things like an increased demand for services, pay and price inflation, and lower income levels because of the economic downturn, the gap in the council's budget next year rises to over £45m.

The council has identified savings to bridge this budget gap, the majority of which will come from improving efficiency. However, the council has estimated that there could be a reduction of around 700 posts across the council in the next year, significantly fewer than the 1,000 we originally estimated.

The council is actively lobbying government on a range of issues to help reduce the impact these cuts have in areas with high levels of deprivation like Newcastle. They have listened to some of our arguments, but overall the drop in funding for Newcastle works out at about £93 per person in Newcastle, compared to a national average of around £50 per person.
The first item for consideration in the form is:
'Reduce spending on cultural events around the city (£200K)'
followed by many options for reducing libraries, service centre staff, support for the young and the elderly and for increasing parking charges.

Some tough choices, but its nice to be asked!
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Old February 5th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #27
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Morpeth 'singled out' for grim news, says MP
by William Green, The Journal, February 5th 2011


A NORTH East town has been “singled out” by the Government for a triple-whammy of blows, its MP claims.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery spoke out after the Government announced a decision on a bypass scheme was being delayed until the end of the year – with no guarantee that it will go ahead.

The news comes in the wake of Morpeth’s £17m flood defence scheme being thrown into doubt by cuts imposed by the Government. Work on the project was supposed to get under way in December 2011 and be finished in late 2013.

The Labour MP also fears the impact of spending cuts on employment in the town, with half of Morpeth’s workers employed by the public sector.

Mr Lavery said: “Morpeth seems to have been targeted more than anywhere else in the North East. It seems to be singled out.”


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Old February 6th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #28
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Hospital's amazing work may be at risk in review
February 6th 2011, by Coreena Ford, Sunday Sun


IT is a place where miracles are worked, where young lives are saved in their hundreds.

But despite its amazing work, this leading North hospital’s heart unit could soon close as part of a Government review.

The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle came under the Government microscope last year, as part of a review of the UK’s 11 heart units.

Now, having been delayed twice, a public announcement on the issue is to be made on Wednesday, February 16.

Having provided such a superb service over the years, users and staff clearly hope it will remain open, but there is still a chance the Government will decide otherwise, instead favouring units which are more geographically centralised.

Should that happen, the unit could close on that very same day because all it would take is for its surgeons to leave and go to work in one of the chosen heart units.


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Old February 7th, 2011, 10:50 AM   #29
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London hogs centre stage in the race for arts cash
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, February 7th 2011


A LONDON arts “bias” will see three-quarters of Government cultural cash handed to the capital this year as projects in regions such as the North East face closure, it has been claimed.

Ministers have been told they must act on “a plea for the English regions” as arts organisations face up to the impact of cuts worth in some cases more than 30% of their budgets.

Former Newcastle Council leader Lord Shipley has spoken of the “stark” contrast between the way the Department of Culture, Media and Sport handles the capital and the rest of England.

London, Lord Shipley told the House of Lords, has had its Government cultural cash relatively protected while at the same time having a large number of wealthy businesses ready to make substantial contributions.

Neither of those conditions are present in the North East, where the Royal Shakespeare Company has said it will not be touring this year, a move Lord Shipley said was a “consequence of the way arts public funding works”.


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Old February 7th, 2011, 10:53 AM   #30
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Vital European funds to be wasted due to cuts
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, February 7th 2011


TENS of millions of pounds in European funds meant to create thousands of jobs in the North East will have to be handed back as a result of Government cuts, it is feared.

A pot of European regeneration money worth up to £180m needs to be allocated to North East projects before March 2012 or the European Commission will claw it back.

But it cannot be spent without matched funding being provided from councils, businesses or the doomed development agency One North East.

If money is handed back, the Treasury will be able to claim it off future contributions to the EU, saving it money at the cost of North East jobs.

Critics have warned that as a result of Government cuts there is no spare cash to seize the last tranche of cash from a pot which was initially worth £340m to the region.

Hugh Morgan Williams, a leading businessman chairing a regional loan fund, said at best the private sector would find £30m in the time available.


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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #31
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Region will be hit by forestry job loses
by Tony Henderson, The Journal, Feb 8 2011



GOVERNMENT spending cuts may leave the North East without Forestry Commission bases.

Staff consultation has started on proposals to close the Forestry Commission offices in Rothbury in Northumberland and Hamsterley Forest in County Durham.

The potential closures come against a backdrop of a 26% budget reduction for the Forestry Commission because of the Government’s spending review. This is separate from another current Government consultation on plans to sell off publicly-owned Forestry Commission woodlands.

The work of the Rothbury and Hamsterley offices would go to either York or Cheshire.

There are also proposals to withdraw Forestry Commission staff from running visitor centres at Kielder and Hamsterley forests, which together attract almost 400,000 people a year.


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Old February 9th, 2011, 11:45 AM   #32
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Cash cuts leave The Tyneside Cinema in trouble
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, February 9th 2011



THE region’s top alternative cinema is facing financial uncertainty as a result of Government cuts.

With just weeks to go before the new financial year, the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle is still waiting to see if there will be any interim funding to help it continue its specialist work.

The Government’s decision to scrap the UK Film Council has created funding chaos, with Newcastle’s Lord Shipley calling on the coalition Government to show its commitment to arts outside the capital.

Tyneside Cinema bosses say they are prepared for a reduction in funding of anywhere up to 40% spread out over the next four years, but have heard nothing on the settlement needed this April.

The continuing uncertainty, and the chance of a 100% budget cut, would see the cinema look again at how it funds specialist screenings and community work, although there is no suggestion of the cinema closing.


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Old February 10th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #33
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Newcastle City Council looks at major cuts to libraries
by Amy Hunt, Evening Chronicle, February 10th 2011


LIBRARIES could be replaced by DIY book-borrowing points at community centres under plans to save cash.

The proposals by Newcastle City Council are the latest to emerge as part of the authority’s efforts to balance its books in the face of budget cuts.

Huge chunks have been hacked from councils’ budgets by the Coalition Government, leaving Britain’s town hall leaders with tough decisions about where to spend their money.

And with Chancellor George Osborne set to announce his Budget next month, regional chiefs are braced for yet more hard times to come.

In Newcastle up to half of the city’s 18 libraries could be closed and replaced with “library express” facilities in buildings shared with anything from shops to schools.

The new-style service would have only a skeleton staff at certain times of the day and would allow members to browse a small selection of books and take them out through self-service machines.


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Old February 13th, 2011, 01:16 PM   #34
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North police forces facing £100m cuts
February 13th 2011 by Sara Nichol, Sunday Sun


HARD-PRESSED North police forces are to have their budgets slashed by a staggering £100m-plus over the next three years.

The savage Government cash cuts will hit the region hard and could see nearly 2,000 jobs axed.

The budget cuts are so deep, some of the North’s five forces could see officer numbers shrink to levels of the 1970s. And they will struggle to keep the impact to front-line services to a minimum.

Some forces hope to achieve redundancy figures through a recruitment freeze, while others have admitted some job losses will be forced.

The Northumbria, Durham, Cleveland, Cumbria and North Yorkshire forces will have to make a combined saving of £127m over the next three years.

Around 1,700 jobs are facing the axe – a mixture of both civilian and front-line police officers – with Cleveland yet to announce their expected losses.


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Old February 18th, 2011, 02:40 PM   #35
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Stamp duty battle over region's assets
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, February 18th 2011



A BATTLE is on to prevent a multi-million pound tax bill being passed to taxpayers as the region tries to save assets key to the region’s economic future.

The Government’s decision to scrap development agency One North East will see councils forced to pay if they want to keep £54m worth of vital assets such as a full stake in Newcastle Science Central. The decision effectively adds bills worth tens of millions of pounds to council costs just to keep regeneration projects going.

But it has now emerged council bosses will also have to pay stamp duty on any land they buy at a time when they face the deepest spending cuts in a generation. Staff from the development agency met with London-based civil servants to argue against imposing stamp duty. Eventually councillors will have to decide between paying huge bills to keep projects going and creating jobs or saving cash for day-to-day services such as bin collections and elderly care.

The Journal has seen a copy One North East’s assets and liabilities list handed over to the Department for Business detailing its plans to close the agency down. In this the agency puts the case for allowing the region to retain assets paid for already with public money.

In his submission to the Government, obtained by the Local Government Chronicle, Mr Clarke made clear “ownership is as a result of inherited properties and an active strategy to assemble sites which are key to the economic development and successful regeneration of the North East”.


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ALSO, from the Journal, Friday February 18th 2011 . .

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Old February 24th, 2011, 01:28 PM   #36
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Housing cash for North East will head South
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, February 24th 2011


MILLIONS of pounds will be taken from the money for the North to pay for incentives to build houses in the South, it has been revealed.

A Government scheme to hand over extra cash for every new home built will largely be funded by diverting money from Northern council funds.

Because the New Homes Bonus is based on the council tax value of the property, the more populated Southern councils will need to receive much more than the North.

And ministers believe the only way to find that money is to take from council budgets.

Latest estimates say that from 2012 onwards the North will lose out on £102m while councils in the South East will gain £324m.

The more homes that are built in London and the South East, the greater the reduction in support for services will be in the North.

Housing bosses last night warned the funding will worsen the North-South divide as money is passed from deprived areas to prosperous Southern councils.

It comes just months after the Government had safeguarded predominantly Southern councils from the worst of the national spending cuts, with figures revealing the 'per head' reductions up to ten-times worse in the North.


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Old March 2nd, 2011, 11:40 AM   #37
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North will suffer in planning ‘vacuum’
by William Green, The Journal, March 2nd 2011


THE North East economy could suffer because ministers have left a planning “vacuum” after sweeping away regional bodies, MPs today warned.

The Commons transport committee also demanded a fair funding deal with London grabbing a huge share of available money despite the recession having a bigger impact on the North.

Ministers were also urged to develop a clear strategy for the nation’s major ports and airports.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said the coalition had failed to recognise the fact that transport was a public service.

He added: “By pulling out one layer, it just destroys things. They have done that willy-nilly across the board without thinking what they are doing. And clearly, it has had an impact on transport.

“While I am sad by what the transport select committee has reported, I am not surprised.”

In a hard-hitting report, MPs said the abolition of regional development agencies along with planning and Government offices could prove highly damaging. And they questioned whether Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) could pick up the pieces. Ministers have insisted groups of LEPs, bringing together local business and council chiefs, will do a better job of drawing up transport priorities.

But the committee warned major schemes crossing LEP boundaries may not be “adequately” promoted with decisions made by Whitehall rather than by local organisations which best know the priorities of their area.


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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:11 AM   #38
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Coalition slammed for revelling in cuts
by Adrian Pearson, The Journal, March 3rd 2011


CUTS worth £102m were agreed in the North’s biggest cities last night as a result of the coalition’s “glee and enthusiasm” for hitting the North East.

Both Sunderland and Newcastle Councils put through budget reductions which will see services reduced or jobs go. In Tyneside the police had to hold back several dozen protesters intent on disrupting the meeting.

Sunderland Council has promised there will be no redundancies as it faces up to cuts and rising bills worth £58m this year. Councillors in Wearside were told at a full council meeting yesterday it was the first time in more than 30 years that no direct grant was available for the most deprived communities.

In Newcastle the Liberal Democrats pushed through a budget which sees £44m cut this year.

More than 600 jobs will go as a result over the next 18 months. There are fears libraries will be turned into “self-service hubs” and centres for disabled people merged.

In Sunderland council leader Paul Watson warned that “in these toughest of economic times we are facing an unprecedented scale of challenge”.

Mr Watson, leader also of the Association of North East Councils and tasked with being the link from the region to Whitehall, went on to launch one of the strongest attacks yet on the coalition.

The Labour councillor said: “We all knew that reductions in public spending had to happen but I for one am saddened, even to anger, at the apparent glee and enthusiasm shown by the coalition Government in inflicting these cuts and especially at the relish they have taken in the front-loading of local government cuts rather than have the reductions spread evenly across the four years.”


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Old March 4th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #39
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On the other side of the equation, based on population Newcastle alone this year alone is paying £208 million of the national debt interest minimum repayment (currently £44 billion, or £120 million a day) - and that's just to service the debt, rather than repay it. Just think what we could do in the city with that sum.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #40
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£16m redundancy cost of NHS cuts drive
The Journal, March 12th 2011


NHS cutbacks have cost North East taxpayers £16m in redundancy payouts in a year, new figures show.

From April last year, 430 employees from the region’s Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and many from NHS Foundation Trusts have lost their jobs in widespread cutbacks which have cost £15.874m.

In a bid to save £27m annually, managerial positions have been axed at local PCTs including staff within the board and executive committee, plus directors of nursing.

The highest single payout was £223,542 from NHS Tees, and last night union leaders expressed concern over the “staggering” amount of money to have come out of the region’s NHS budget.

Glenn Turp, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The fact is that this is all money that is being ‘lost’ to the NHS, rather than to pay frontline nurses to deliver services.

“The Conservatives said in the lead up to the election ‘no more top-down NHS structural overhauls’ and yet, with GP commissioning, that is exactly what they are doing.”

The cutbacks are part of Government’s controversial reforms where PCTs will be abolished in 2013 when GPs will be handed power over commissioning treatment worth £80bn.


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