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Council Leader: 'impossible to protect' frontline services

Cumbria County Council will need to make massive cuts. Photo: ITV Border

The leader of Cumbria County Council has issued a stark warning - that further cuts to the authority's budget are inevitable, and it will be "impossible to protect" frontline services.

Councillor Stewart Young made the comments as the Chancellor, George Osborne, is set to announce further cuts to local authority funding in his emergency budget this Wednesday.

Cllr Young says the Council may have to save £22 million more than was expected, by 2019:

£33m
Amount Cumbria County Council was expected to have to save by 2019
£55m
Amount Cumbria County Council is now expected to have to save by 2019

To try to put that in context, for us to save £55 million we would probably have to close the entire library service about 11 times.

Or three or four times the cost of the fire service.

These figures are enormous, I know we're a big organisation, but even by our standards, £55 million on top of what was already saved over the last few years, is a significant figure."

– Cllr Stewart Young

1,800 are already going at the council, and voluntary redundancy could now be offered to a wider circle of people, in light of the expected new cuts, including those who work in Adult and Children's Services.

Carlisle's Conservative MP John Stevenson has defended his party's austerity measures:

First of all, we still have a very sizeable deficit in this country, which quite clearly we need to get down.

And also look at the events that are going on in Greece, an example of a country that didn't manage its finances correctly, and look at the mess that they've now got themselves into.

We do not want to see that happen in this country."

– John Stevenson, MP