Call for Referendum on the Scorched Newcastle Budget

Call for Referendum on the Scorched Newcastle Budget

The Newcastle First campaign organisation is today calling on Newcastle City Council to ask residents for their views on its Scorched Newcastle Budget. This could be through a local referendum or a series of by-elections.

This would be unprecedented but so are the cuts Labour councillors are planning to impose on the city and, if Labour councillors are to be believed, so is the scale of the challenge facing the city.

Newcastle First’s general secretary Ernie Shorton said: “There is considerable public anger at the services Labour have chosen to cut. After seven years in the wilderness, they have come back with a vengeance and begun to close swimming pools like they did when they were last in power.

“They will continue to pay the salaries of people working for unions that have contributed millions to Labour while cutting the jobs of 1,300 council workers. Cabinet members will continue to be protected by an army of well paid Deputy Cabinet Members and council officers while the youth and play service is destroyed.

“Their priorities are not the same as the people who put them there and they cannot be allowed to destroy our services while supporting councillors and protecting the organisations that fund their election campaigns.

“Residents attending the February council meeting presenting petitions were not shown sufficient respect by Labour councillors. It is time they did the right thing by asking the people what they think in a clearer way than their three month consultation.

“If Labour councillors cannot follow the wishes of the people they were elected to serve, they should resign their seats and make way for people who can.”

Ernie will also be speaking at the full council meeting on the delay in publishing the One Core Strategy.

Ernie added: “There are a lot of similarities between the One Core Strategy and Labour’s Scorched Newcastle Budget. Both contained significant factual errors and both caused significant local controversy caused by the failure to engage people in the process early enough to help shape the final proposals.

“The council claimed the sky would fall in and we would a free for all for developers if we allowed time for people to shape the development plans for Newcastle. Campaigners are concerned that the silence from the council is going to make this a reality.”

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