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Angry parents protest against Sure Start closure plans

Angry parents at a protest picnic against proposed closures of Sure Start children's centres. Credit: ITV News

Parents who are angry at proposed cuts to childcare and support services in some of Newcastle's most deprived areas have been taking part in a 'protest picnic'.

Government cuts may force Newcastle City Council to close two-thirds of Sure Start centres. Credit: ITV News

Newcastle Council say it may be forced to close two-thirds of the 20 Sure Start centres.

Families release balloons after the protest picnic in Newcastle. Credit: ITV News

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Council funding cuts confirmed

Councils across the region were told today the extent of overall cuts to funding for 2014/15.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles published the figures which showed an average cut of 2.9% across the country.

A spokesman for Newcastle Council said they were facing an overall cut to spending of 4.6% - more than ten million pounds - but that the news was what they expected.

Middlesbrough Council is facing a reduction of more than 5%.

Funding cuts to both councils are well above the national average.

ITV News Tyne Tees contacted all of our region's councils about the figures but many said it was too early to tell what the cuts meant for them.

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Council's campaign to support staff suffering domestic abuse

Newcastle City Council launches campaign to help staff who are suffering domestic abuse. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Newcastle City Council has launched a strategy to support staff who are suffering domestic abuse.

The council wants its managers to recognise the problem among colleagues and offer help. It is estimated that one in 10 working people suffers abuse.

The aim is to make the workplace a safe haven from violence suffered at home.

City Council blocks access to payday loans companies

Newcastle City Council has become one of the first in the country to block access to the websites of payday loans companies via its own computer system. The council is also planning to try to stop the lenders advertising on some billboards in the city.

However, not everyone is against the loans companies - a survey by uSwitch found half of people who had taken out a payday loan found it a positive experience.

Gregg Easteal reports.

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