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".
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.
There is a warning not to use Accident and Emergency at the Royal Stoke University Hospital unless it is an emergency.
A group which analyses visits found patients could have used walk-in centres instead.
There is a significant challenge relating to the number of people turning up at the accident and emergency department who could be attending other facilities.
A&E is for genuine emergencies. Where people are unsure if their need for care is urgent, they should call the NHS 111 number for advice and to be directed to the most appropriate place to get the right treatment as quickly and effectively as possible.
Emergency surgery will no longer take place at Stafford's County Hospital from today.
Patients will be sent to either Stoke or Wolverhampton.
The Trust says surgery was clinically unsustainable in Stafford and £250 million will be invested to ease pressures, but campaigners have expressed concerns.
The M6 Southbound is closed with queueing traffic due to debris on the road, a spillage and a serious accident involving two lorries between J16 A500 (Stoke-On-Trent/ Crewe) and J15 (Stoke-On-Trent)
Hundreds of worried parents in Stoke have launched a petition in a desperate effort to save their lollipop man.Read the full story ›
Police are appealing for the public's help in tracing a 30-year-old man who has been missing for more than a week.
Nathaniel Pearcy of Foley Street in Longton was last seen on January 10, by a friend whom he had been seeing daily.
Nathaniel is white, 5ft 3" tall, of average build, clean shaven with brown hair and missing front teeth. He also has a piercing in his left eyebrow.
Police say his disappearance is out of character.
Anybody who sees him should call 101.
Stoke City defender Robert Huth has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over messages he posted on twitter.
Huth replied to a social media account which posts sexual images of individuals and asks users to guess their gender.
The FA has declared his messages in 'aggravated breach' of their rules because they made reference to gender or gender reassignment.
Huth has until 6pm on 21 January 2015 to respond to the FA's charge.
An online petition calling for police to stop using tasers has been signed by more than 800 people.
It was started after a man, named locally as Adrian McDonald, died when he was tasered by police officers responding to reports of a burglary in Chesterton, Staffordshire in December.
The petition says: 'Questions about the safety of taser stun guns used by police forces across the globe have been raging ever since the supposedly non-lethal weapons first came into use over a decade ago.'
The Independent Police Complaints Commission continues to investigate the incident.
Major incidents have been declared at hospitals in Staffordshire due to an "unprecedented demand" for healthcare services.Read the full story ›
A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman's body was discovered at a flat on Christmas morning.
The victim, believed to be in her thirties, was found dead in Dibden Court, Honeywall in Stoke-on-Trent, after paramedics were called at 10.30am.
Despite the efforts of West Midlands Ambulance Service, the woman was pronounced deceased.
The 49-year-old suspect will be questioned by detectives from Staffordshire Police force's criminal investigation department (CID).
A detailed forensic examination of the scene is taking place and the flat is cordoned off.
"We are working to support the family of the woman at this very tragic and difficult time and I urge people not to speculate about the incident and allow the detectives to establish the circumstances which led to the death of the woman. "Local police officers are speaking to residents in the block of flats and surrounding areas to gather any information and to provide reassurance. I urge anyone with any information to call Staffordshire Police".