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Leeds City Council warns of 'painful decisions' to meet budget cuts

Leeds City Council's leader has warned of painful decisions trying to find a further £55m of budget cuts over the next financial year. Councillor Keith Wakefield says the key theme of spending for 2013/14 will be "protecting essential services by making painful decisions we can no longer avoid."

In the two years since the government began its public spending review Leeds City Council has found £145m of savings. During the next financial year £54.9m extra has to be saved from the budget. 334 full time jobs will go and other proposals include service reductions and extra charges.

Again this year the statistics show that Leeds has been hit harder than all the other core cities except one in terms of funding from the government. As a result in order to do all we can to protect essential services we have had to look at making decisions which previously we would have considered unthinkable. We are doing all we can to keep the impact of these changes to a minimum, but at the same time we also have a firm commitment to growth, embracing new ideas and working together to deliver a strong future for Leeds.

– Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield

£600,000 compensation bill for Leeds' potholes

Potholes road in Leeds
Potholed road in Leeds Credit: Sarah Clark

Leeds City Council has paid out more than £600,000 compensation claims caused by potholes in the last five years. More than 1,600 claims were lodged during that time - but only a fraction have actually been settled.

Last year, 355 claims were made by drivers for personal injury claims or car repairs - but only 55 have been settled. In 2010, one injury claim attracted more than twenty six thousand pounds.

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Council closes buildings over festive period

Leeds City Council is trialling a festive shutdown of buildings that are in low or no demand over the Christmas period as one of the ways of looking to save money. Non-essential services will be closed so as to reduce energy and building costs from midnight 23 December to midnight 1 January 2013.

Services with high demand over this period - refuse collection, street cleansing and traffic management - will not be closed Child protection remains a priority and there will be sufficient social work staff in place to deal with all enquiries and new referrals

Similarly the majority of Adult Social Care services will also remain open. a more detailed list of affected services in your area visit www.leeds.gov.ukand click through to the specific service page.

Adoption information event in Leeds

People who are interested in finding out more about adopting a child in Leeds are being invited to an information hub today. Leeds City Council is holding the drop-in event at The Light between 10am and 3pm.

The Council is particularly in need of adopters who can give a home to brothers and sisters, children of mixed heritage, children with disabilities, babies from birth and very young children who may have future development needs.

Adopting a child or children is a rewarding, challenging and unique experience and one that is open to all. What we want to underline is that anyone can adopt, there is often a misconception that only certain groups of people can apply. This couldn't be further from the truth, what we need are people who have the commitment to make a real difference to a vulnerable child's life.

We need all kinds of people to be adopters, and are looking for people with a range of different skills and experience. Please don't rule yourself out, come and talk to our adoption team - there might be a child in care who you would be the perfect adoptive parent for."

– Cllr Judith Blake

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Leeds City Council to meet lawyers over GCSE results

Representatives from Leeds City Council will meet lawyers later to discuss weather to pursue legal action over this year's GCSE exam results. They are concerned that one of the country's main examination boards, AQA, changed the goalposts for students without informing schools.

Officials say that the grading system was altered for English exams in such a way that two students completing their coursework or test and achieving the same mark may have been given different grades depending on whether they submitted their work in January (Grade C) or June (Grade D).

“This fiasco will have a devastating impact on so many young people’s futures, through no fault of their own. This means that some students could be denied places on apprenticeships or college courses because of their English grades and this just is not right. I am outraged that the lives of young people are being played around with in this way. We agree that standards must be raised and exams must be rigorous and testing, but they must also be fair. Moving the goal posts mid year is not acceptable.

– Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council
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