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Council approves budget

Protesters outside the meeting where Councillors agreed the budget. Credit: ITV Border

Unison say they will continue to oppose budget cuts approved by Cumbria County Council today.

Fifty Councillors voted in favour of plans to cut 1,800 jobs and raise council tax by just under 2%.

It's part of a drive to save £83 million after funding cuts from central Government.

Councillors arriving for the meeting were met by protesters from the union.

Protesters call for delay to budget decisions

Protests were held outside Cumbria County Council offices as councillors met to vote on cutting 1,800 jobs, and reducing key services.

Councillors are still debating at the meeting in Kendal, where the council's budget for the next three years will be set.

Central government funding for Cumbria is being cut by £83 million between now and 2018.

Protesters are asking for any final decisions about the cuts to be delayed.

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Protesters gather at Council meeting

Protesters have gathered outside Kendal's County Hall Credit: ITV Border

Protestors against cuts to jobs and services have gathered outside Kendal's County Hall today.

Cumbria County Council is meeting there to vote on its budget for the next three years, which includes proposals to cut 1,800 jobs.

Central government funding for Cumbria is being reduced by £83,000,000 between now and 2018.

They are protesting cuts to jobs Credit: ITV Border

Protestors hold torchlit procession

Protesters held a torchlit procession last night Credit: ITV Border

Protesters against cuts to services at Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital held a torchlit march last night.

The "We need West Cumberland Hospital" Group say that thirty-three services in West Cumbria have either been lost or are under threat, and that moving them to Carlisle is putting public safety at risk.

A new £90,000,000 hospital is being built in Whitehaven but protesters say that the loss of services may not be addressed by this.

Protestors say that moving some services to Carlisle is putting public safety at risk Credit: ITV Border

However, the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is arguing that services have been improved under the new structure.

It also says that it's important to note that some of the "threatened" services may not actually be under threat.

"Following the centralisation of all complex high risk surgery at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in 2013, the number of deaths of people from West Cumbria associated with emergency surgery has fallen by over 50%, showing that this was absolutely the right decision for our patients.

“The new £90 million West Cumberland Hospital will ensure that the vast majority of people living in West Cumbria will continue receive their healthcare locally. The new hospital will offer a range of services including an emergency floor with A&E, ambulatory care, ITU and critical care, seven state of the art operating theatres and improved diagnostic services."

– A spokesperson for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

Mum continues fight to get answers from foreign office

Julie Sheppard's son Andrew Watt, who was from Durham, was found dead in a lane in France in 2010. His parents argue that there was a lack of support from the British foreign office to find out the details of their son's death.

Andrew's family joined 31 other families, who claim they are not being listened to or being given the support needed when their loved ones died abroad.

Grieving families protest outside Foreign Office

Julie Sheppard joined 31 other families in protest Credit: ITV News Border

A grieving mum, who's son died in France is still seeking answers four years after his death.

Julie Sheppard along with other bereaved families have been protesting outside the Foreign Office for the third time this year.

She claims the Government failed to help them at their time of need.

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Full report: Demolition sparks housing protest in Carlisle

A protest has taken place in Carlisle against the demolition of several one bedroom flats in the city.

A group of residents say there are not enough properties of this size for all the people that need them.

They are worried that there's a growing demand for smaller flats because of the Government's so-called bedroom tax, which charges people in public housing who have unused bedrooms.

Andy Burn reports:

House demolitions "nothing about housing" says campaigner

"This is basically another instrument by the government to take money off the poorest and most vulnerable to finance tax giveaways to the millionaires and big business corporation tax cuts.

"It's nothing about housing. If it was really about rehousing people and using the social housing stock, why would they knock down 16 post-war-built single bedroom flats?

"This is the proof that it is nothing about housing."

– Brent Kennedy, Spokesperson, Axe the bedroom tax

Riverside Homes: "We have a large number of one bedroom properties"

"Riverside in Carlisle manages 6,000 homes. Within the district over 1600 are one bedroom which means Riverside is responsible for managing 85% of the one bedroom properties in Carlisle.

"Not only do we have a large number of one bedroom properties in our stock but also extensive knowledge on demand and management of one bedroom properties.

"We currently have over 30 one bedroom properties which are empty and in the process of being advertised for re-let or have been allocated."

– Spokesperson, Riverside Homes
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