The FBU has condemned the approval of 5 million pound cuts to Tyne & Wear Fire Brigade. At a meeting of the brigade's Fire Authority, councillors approved the option. It's a response to the reduction in the amount of government money the authority receives.
The Fire Brigades Union has branded the decision to approve cuts to Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue service as 'criminal' and says it will ballot members on possible strike action. The green light was given at a Fire Authority meeting this lunchtime after a number of options were explored.
A series of money saving cuts to Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service have been given the green light. It will mean the loss of 131 front line posts, a reduction of 6 engines, the closure of 3 stations in Sunderland, Gosforth and Wallsend.
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.
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.
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.
From April, 50,000 council and housing association tenants will lose a percentage of their housing benefit, if they have a spare room in their house. It is designed to free up bigger houses for the families who need them - but in many areas, a shortage of smaller homes means moving is not an option.
The Mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, has attacked the government over public sector cuts. The council has been asked to save £72m over five years. Mallon says the reductions will have a devastating effect on the town.
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.
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.