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Emergency services braced for busiest weekend of the year

Emergency services are braced for what is expected to be the busiest weekend of the year as thousands of office parties take place.

Police and paramedics are putting on extra patrols in case things get out of hand.

A & E units are also drafting in more staff as already busy hospitals come under more pressure.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

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Ambulance crews prepare for 'Black Friday'

Ambulance crews gear up for 'Black Friday' Credit: ITV News Anglia

The number of calls to the East of England Ambulance service are up 11% compared to 2013 and that is before 'Black Friday' gets underway tonight.

Crews call the last Friday before Christmas 'Black Friday' as people make the most of what is for some, their last working day before Christmas.

There were 700 more callouts than average last Saturday and it's expected that figure will be exceeded tonight.

For special safety guidelines issued by the ambulance service. Click here.

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New East Anglian ambulance chief sought

Anthony Marsh is to step down as interim Chief Executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust Credit: ITV News Anglia

The head of the East of England Ambulance Service is to step down in the coming months as the search for his sucessor begins less than a year after he started the job.

Anthony Marsh became interim Chief Executive of the Trust in January, tasked with improving ambulance response times. Also Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, he faced criticism over his quarter of a million pound salary.

His appointment was meant to last for up to two years, but the trust has already advertised for a replacement. Mr Marsh will stay until a successor is found.

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

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.

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