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Five things we learned after Newcastle City Council slashed another [pounds sterling]20m from its budget; From car parks to libraries, here's how Newcastle City Council's budget affects you.

Byline: Daniel Holland

Cash-strappedNewcastle City Councilwill be slashing another [pounds sterling]20m from its budget in the next 12 months.

The latest round of cuts - which will reach [pounds sterling]60m by 2022 - will have major implications for frontline services across the city -- from car parks to libraries, social care to bins.

Here are some of the ways the cuts will impact on you if you live and work in the city.

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The council is imposing a 3.95% council tax rise for next year, 1% of which is ring-fenced to help pay for the city's rapidly rising adult social care bill.

That will add [pounds sterling]62.43 to the annual bill for a Band D property and [pounds sterling]41.62 for a Band A.

Council tax will also be increased for empty properties - those which have empty for two years will now be charged 200% ofthe normal Council Tax chargefor a Band D property, [pounds sterling]3,667.28.

Disabled Blue Badge holders will now be charged for parking in council-operated multi-storeys and off-street car parks.

However, they will be given a one hour free grace period after their ticket expires, in recognition of the extra time it can take Blue Badge holders to return to their vehicle.

The general provision of the Blue Badge scheme on all 2,000city centre on-street parking spaceswill remain free, as will the 100 on-street disabled parking spaces.

The Shopmobility service is being cut reduced from six to four days a week, and its users will no longer get free parking.

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The Grainger Town car park will be shut overnight, only allowing access for fob holders.

The council also says it will review evening and Sunday parking charges at on-street pay and display bays and off-street pay and display car parks.

City Library is having its opening hours cut.

It will now have its closing time brought forward from 7pm to 5pm three days a week and will shut entirely on Sundays.

By 2022,Newcastle's library budget is being cutby almost [pounds sterling]1.7m - that will mean the equivalent of 10.5 staff losing their jobs and the East End Library being moved to the Shields Road Customer Service Centre.

Cuts to museum funding will also see the Discovery Museum and Laing Art Gallery closed on five Bank Holidays, while the council's own impact assessment states that a reduction in its funding to Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums could lead to reduction in programmes and activities for children and young people -- including holiday and after-school activities.

The council will begin enforcing a previously-approved policy to charge residents for replacement wheelie bins.

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According to the budget proposal, the Brunswick recycling centre is also set for closure in 2020/21, though the council maintains that a review of its waste services is ongoing and that plan is not set in stone.

The council is reducing its supporting independence scheme budget by 5%.

That money is used to provide furniture and essential items to people suffering through a financial crisis, and the cuts could are expected to cause particular damage to women, people on low incomes and families.

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Credit: Newcastle Chronicle

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2019
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