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Council leader responds to cuts protest

"The Government sets the general direction on spending and has been very clear since 2010 that they would make large public sector funding cuts.

They set the level of funding that we receive and we have to operate within our budget. If we didn’t, it would not be a legal budget and decision-making would be taken away from local people and their elected representatives.

The majority of savings we are making this year are coming from back office functions and we continue to try to safeguard frontline services as much as possible.”

– Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council

Anti cuts protestors greet councillors arriving at headquarters ahead of Durham budget

Protestors outside Durham County Hall Credit: ITV News

An anti-cuts protest greeted councillors arriving at Durham Council's headquarters to set the authority's budget for 2014-2015.

Durham County Council are voting on its 2014/2015 budget on with the ruling Labour group proposing a 1.99% council tax rise and £23m of cuts.

Durham council agree to council tax rise

Council tax in County Durham will go up for the first time in five years.

Councillors agreed a 1.99% rise at a Cabinet meeting this morning.

The local authority predicts the additional income from council tax will generate £3.29m in 2014/15.

Since 2011, 1500 jobs have been axed at Durham County Council, but councillors vowed to keep further compulsory redundancies to 'an absolute minimum.'

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Durham council must find further savings of £110m

Durham County Council HQ Credit: ITV News

A special meeting to discuss the budget for Durham County Council gets underway this morning (Wednesday). .

It's expected the local authority will face further budget cuts as reductions in Government grants are confirmed.

Over the past three years, the council has made savings of £113.9m.

Councillors will hear today that this figure must rise to £224m of savings by 2017.

Council Leader, Cllr Simon Henig, said: "Despite us explaining our very serious situation to central Government, it is clear not all parts of the country are seeing the same level of reductions. There is little doubt that our area is again being hit the hardest."

Durham foster families needed

Durham County Council is looking to recruit 50 foster carers this year. It comes as a national charity reveals figures of how many carers are needed nationally in 2014. There will be drop-in sessions held in Durham so people can learn more about the role.

The council is looking for carers who can look after teenagers as well as those families who can offer a long term home to children.

The drop-in sessions will take place on the following dates:

  • January 16, Lamplight Arts Centre, Stanley, from 4pm
  • January 17, Durham Town Hall, from 11am
  • January 23, Four Clocks Centre, Bishop Auckland, from 4.30pm

At least 8,600 new foster families are needed across the UK, according to the Fostering Network.

Council buys Lumiere clock for permanent display

One of the art installations in this year's Lumiere Festival in Durham will become a permanent fixture. Durham County Council has bought the Helvetictoc clock, which tells the time in quirky ways, for £10,000.

Clock
Helvetictoc tells the time in conversational language Credit: Steve Drew/PA Archive

The clock should be in place in the city's Millennium Square early in 2014, subject to a planning application.

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