After a long, bad tempered and at times, upsetting meeting, Newcastle City Council set a budget that will cut £100M of spending. One Labour Councillor had to hold back the tears when she spoke of how the people she represents are being targeted. Lib Dems blamed Labour for the implementation of cuts which their own party supported in Westminister. Local Lib Dems will find at out the ballot box, if it is possible to face both ways on an issue that affects so many people's lives, without the electorate noticing.
North East Councillors argued long into the night about where the axe will fall and who is to blame. Tory led councils in the South will not be making such difficult decisions; some are not being cut at all. Council budgets are a well established, simple method of redistribution. Councils in less well off areas receive more money from Central Government than those in rich areas. Now we are seeing the opposite; the most vulnerable are targeted while millionaires get a tax cut.
It is now time to forget the politics and remember the workers. Initial estimates are that 1300 local authority staff will lose their jobs. I hope that voluntary redundancy, retirement and not replacing staff who choose to move on, can be used to keep compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum.