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Stoke City Council budget decision brings jobs warning

Council tax rates in Stoke-on-Trent have been frozen for a third year running, as the city council warned job losses are inevitable.

The budget for 2015-16 was approved at a full council meeting tonight. The authority said it will will continue to provide vital services to protect the vulnerable and invest in the future of the city, while saving £26.9m through "increased efficiency and new ways of working".

Stoke City Council said job losses are inevitable Credit: ITV News Central

The final budget was agreed after months of discussions with community groups and local people.

The package was shaped by peoples’ concerns about school crossing patrols, public toilets, meals on wheels and child and adolescent mental health services.

The council said it has already been forced by government funding reductions to save £97m over the last four years, but job losses are inevitable.

We understand people don’t want to see services cut. That’s the last thing I want and we have fought to protect front line services.

We have been one of the worst hit councils in the country. This city is growing fast and really improving.

We have been hit by a perfect storm of increased demand caused by the recession, increased responsibilities from government and massively reduced central funding. We have faced the challenges head on.

But we have managed to balance the books yet again and continue to find a way to deliver important public services for local people. We have focused on our key priorities – protecting the vulnerable and creating the condition for economic growth and jobs.

– Council leader Mohammed Pervez

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Hundreds take to the streets to protest against council cuts

Protestors argue that the cuts will have a big impact on local life. Credit: ITV News Central

Hundreds of protestors gathered in Coventry today to protest against plans to cuts local services to save money.

Coventry City Council announced earlier this week a new series of cuts worth around £15 million on top of previous money saving measures.

The council says funding from central government will have halved by 2017 compared to 2010, and that the cuts are necessary to reflect the harsh reality of this reduction.

'It's in our interest to know who these murderers are'

Julie Hambleton, the sister of Maxine who was one of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings, says she doesn't have much faith in David Cameron's pledge.

Her comments come after the Prime Minister promised to find out why all important judicial documents relating to the attack have been locked away for 75 years.

Read more: Cameron wants to know why key Birmingham pub bombing papers locked away

Birmingham pub bombings victims siblings have 'little faith' in Prime Ministers promise

Maxine Hambleton was killed in the bombings. Credit: ITV News Central

18-year-old Maxine Hambleton was one of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings which took place in 1974, but her brother and sister have said they don't have much faith in David Cameron's pledge.

David Cameron has pledged to find out why all important judicial documents relating to the Birmingham pub bombings have been locked away for 75 years.

During a visit to the Birmingham Mail, the Prime Minister was presented with an investigation into the secret documents.

Last year was the 40th anniversary of the attack which killed 21 people and seriously injured another 200, no-one has ever been brought to justice for the attack.

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Miliband: Labour business policies help working families

Miliband launched Labour's plan at Jaguar Land Rover's plant in Wolverhampton.

Ed Miliband has warned that the Tory "long-term economic plan" is working for a "handful" of people at the top, while his rival vision would champion the needs of working families.

The Labour leader said:

Nothing more symbolises the current Government's failing plan than seeing the tax gap - between what should be paid and the revenue received - widening, while the number of apprenticeships available for young people is falling.

– Ed Miliband

He said just one in 10 employers in England offers an apprenticeship and there are "six times fewer high quality apprenticeships than in Germany".

Miliband continued:

It is time to match the aspirations of our young people with the high quality apprenticeships they deserve. So today I can announce: under the next Labour government, if you get the grades at 18, you will be guaranteed an apprenticeship.

– Ed Miliband
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