Middlesbrough's Mayor announces "savage" cuts to council services (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Ray Mallon blames Government for cuts
DRASTIC cuts of £11m to council services were recommended by Mayor of Middlesbrough Ray Mallon tonight.
At a meeting of Middlesbrough Council, the Mayor also came up with proposals to cut a further £2.4m, subject to a public consultation.
Previously, it had been announced that about 220 jobs will be lost as a result of the cuts.
Many of the cuts will affect children and disabled people, including school clothing grants for the poorest children, school transport costs for disabled children, school crossing patrols and Shopmobility.
Litter picking, street cleaning and bus service subsidies are also likely to be reduced.
However, the Mayor did announce that some services have won a reprieve after lobbying from the public.
The library at Hemlington will be saved, but will be run by volunteers.
Ayresome Industries, which employs disabled people, will also be saved, along with the CCTV service.
The Sunningdale mental health residential home remains on the list for closure despite a big public campaign, but the Mayor expressed his hope that the NHS could be persuaded to keep it going.
Mayor Mallon said the cuts were "depressing" and "not fair" and blamed the Government.
Addressing councillors, he said: "These cuts are too deep, too quick and too savage.
"Its all bad news and its going to get worse in future years.
"The public can get rid of all of you, and me, and it wont make any difference."
He said a letter had been sent to David Cameron complaining that the reductions to social deprivation grants had particularly affected places like Middlesbrough.
The Mayor indicated he would recommend a two per cent increase in council tax next year and decline the Government offer of a freeze as that would be storing up trouble for future years.