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Essex says cuts challenge will be tough

Essex County Council faces a £49m cut in government funding. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex County Council is facing the biggest cut in government funding in the Anglia region with nearly £49 million lopped off its budget.

Early assessments of the Local Government finance settlement, which sets out how much money each local authority will receive from the government in 2015/2016, indicate the Essex could be facing a cut of around 13 per cent on its funding.

“Every successive round of cuts makes the challenge harder. We have already secured so many efficiencies. We will continue to work creatively with our dedicated and innovative officers to find new solutions but make no mistake – it will be tough.”

– Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Finance, Essex County Council

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Councils in the Anglia region face 14% cuts in government funding

The government grant to councils in the Anglia region is being cut by 14% Credit: ITV News Anglia

Councils have warned that local authorities across England are being "pushed to breaking point" after the announcement of a new round of Government cuts which will force them to slice an estimated £2.6 billion from their budgets for next year.

The main grant from the government to local councils in the Anglia region is being cut by £323 million next year - a reduction of nearly 14%.

However the government says that the overall reduction in spending power for English councils will be 1.8%, with no council facing a loss of more than 6.4%.

The "spending power" figure includes other income that local councils receive like NHS grants, council tax and business rates and local fees and charges.

The Local Government Association said that the provisional finance settlement for 2015/16 amounted to an 8.8% cut in core central Government funding, bringing to 40% the total reduction in support since the coalition came to power in 2010.

Hospital's appeal for children's wards

Ipswich Hospital has launched a charity appeal to help raise £100,000 for the children's and neonatal wards.

The campaign will focus on providing extra comforts to patients and their families while they stay in hospital, like refurbishing the parent bay for parents to stay overnight, and buying new bedding for paediatric beds.

"The NHS is under huge financial challenge at the moment, and of course we will always provide the essential equipment and care for the patients and their families but this is just a little bit extra - the extra comfort, support that the babies, the children and their families need."

– Nick Hulme - Chief Executive, Ipswich Hospital

The hospital hopes to raise £100,000 over the next three months.

Click below to watch Hannah Pettifer's report.

Anglian Water bills to fall by 10% over the next five years

Anglian Water bills are set to fall by 10% over the next five years. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Water bills are to be cut in the Anglia region after the regulator Ofwat decided what water companies can charge customers in the next five years.

In the East of England, Anglian Water have been told to cut bills by 10%. That will see the average combined sewerage and water bills of £431 in 2014/15 falling by £41 to £390 in 2019/20.

It's a bigger cut in the prices than Anglian Water had requested.

Affinity Water which supplies water to the Clacton and Harwich area of Essex along with South Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and West Essex will cut bills by 7%.

The average bill for a water supply in those areas will reduce by £13 to £163 by 2019/20.

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NHS workers say they're worse off than in 2010

Health workers from across our region have been taking part in a four hour strike as part of an ongoing dispute with the Government over pay.

Many NHS staff including ambulance crews and midwive at the top of their pay bands, say they haven't had a pay rise in five years and are now far worse off in real terms than they were in 2010.

Staff on strike outside Addenbrookes Hospital Credit: ITV News Anglia

In a statement though the Department of Health told us no-one would see their pay frozen.

"The 55% of NHS staff not receiving a 1% increase will get an incremental increase - the average incremental increase is 3% and the highest is 6%. The remaining 45% of staff will get a 1% increase this year and a 2% increase next year."

– Department of Health

Fund wants your ideas for its cash

A funding programme for local groups and organisations wants people to apply with ideas for community projects.

The People's Health Trust has launched the Active Communities Programme, giving grants from £5000 to £25,000. Projects should be small, for example between a few villages or a group of streets.

For more information click here.

Previous ideas the organisation has funded include:

  • Mediation service run by tenants on a housing estate
  • Women’s volunteering group run by and for Bengali women
  • Computer skills support group run for and by older people
  • Support for local people to become community organisers
  • Setting up a green space in urban areas
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