Letter to Prime Minister
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
31 January 2013
Dear Prime Minister
LABOUR’S SCORCHED NEWCASTLE BUDGET
We all understand the challenges the country faces but it is clear that, after years of being taken for granted by Labour, Newcastle is now being let down by your Government.
Newcastle has faced public sector cuts, a more significant reduction in council grant than other parts of the country and the decision to exclude our city from the High Speed Rail network.
Newcastle is not connected to the motorway network and now it seems we will be over an hour and a half away from the closest High Speed Rail station. The benefits described for the North West and Yorkshire & the Humber regions, including vastly reduced journey times to London from Leeds and Manchester and thousands of extra jobs, have effectively been snatched away from the North East.
The decision of your Government to put Newcastle at such an economic disadvantage will leave a legacy that Geordies will remember for many years to come.
What is concerning Newcastle residents today though is the Scorched Newcastle Budget that Labour is imposing on our city. The budget is made up of a number of choices made by councillors, with which we strongly disagree. Although we are opposed to their budget, it is clear that the Conservative and Lib Dem Government has imposed a more significant grant cut than other parts of the country.
As the Leader of Council has already made clear to you, had Newcastle's cut been in line with the national average, the council would have £20m extra to spend in the current financial year and a further £22m in the next financial year alone.
We understand that Newcastle’s grant is higher than many other local authorities but this additional funding has been provided by successive Governments for good reason. The scale of cuts, together with the method of allocating to individual councils and Labour councillors’ choices, will result in the loss of services that local people rely on.
The Newcastle upon Tyne Community First Party – formed initially by people including former Conservative Party members who were disgusted with the impact of your Government’s policies on our city – stands shoulder to shoulder with Labour and Lib Dems locally in challenging your unfair budget settlement for Newcastle.
We urge you to look again at how the cuts are shared between local authorities.