Pickles hailed council deal as a 'bargain'

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles prompted warnings of further reductions in services when he announced this month that English councils would have their spending power reduced by 1.7% next year.

Mr Pickles claimed the settlement represented a "bargain" for local authorities, adding that the Government would offer support for the third year so that council taxes could be frozen.


Councils warn of civil unrest

The council leaders of three of England's biggest cities - Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield - have warned of increasing social unrest and community tensions in the north, which they say has been hit worse by austerity than the south.