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Fire cuts to be revealed

Tyne and Wear Fire Service is due to make the announcement this morning Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Tyne and Wear Fire Service is due to announce where it will make cuts to save 13 million pounds. It follows a public consultation on proposals to cut 130 firefighters and 6 fire engines and possibly close Gosforth, Wallsend and Sunderland fire stations.

Tyne and Wear firefighters cut by 20%

The number of firefighters in Tyne and Wear is to be cut by 20%. The fire authority has announced 3 options for cuts to the service, all involve 131 job losses, one in five firefighters.

Amongst the plans up for consultation are closures of Sunderland central fire station, Wallsend and Gosforth community fire stations, the removal of six fire appliances and reducing the number of aerial platforms from three to two.

The authority's budget is being cut by £13.6 million from 2012 to 2017.

Council outlines plans for the future

Northumberland County Council Credit: ITV News

Northumberland County Council is lauching another major consultation with people about its plans for the next 15 years.

It's setting out its proposals for the county's future including jobs, housing, services and facilities. It's the second phase of consultation.

The public will have until the end of March to comment.

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Lee Hall calls for "direct action" to save Newcastle libraries

He made his name through his writing, as the creator of Billy Elliot, but Lee Hall indicated he is ready to move from words to actions to save ten Newcastle libraries earmarked for closure.

The playwright had people on their feet at a campaign meeting when he called for protesters to occupy libraries.

However, the council says it simply cannot afford to keep the libraries going, because of budget cuts.

Meanwhile in Middlesbrough, councillors discussed whether they can afford to freeze council tax. The mayor Ray Mallon opposes the proposal, saying it would leave a black hole in the council's finances.

North East cuts even worse than in Spain

The Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman has claimed that the scale of cuts being imposed in the region are even worse than those faced by the Spanish people.

Ms Goodman, who worked at the Treasury before becoming a MP, said the initial wave of cuts in 2010 took more than 7% out of the region's economy.

She also said the local councils here were facing cuts 3 times deeper than some councils in the South East.

Her remarks were challenged by the Conservative MP for Guy Opperman.

He accepted that there were difficulties ahead but pointed to recent falls in unemployment in the region.

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