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Department of Health defends use of private sector

The Department of Health have issued statement in response to today's anti NHS privatisation march.

Department of Health say private sector accounts for just 6% NHS

"Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only 6% of the total NHS budget - an increase of just 1.7% since May 2010. Charities, social enterprises and other providers continue to play an important role for the NHS as they have done for many years. The NHS will remain free at the point of use and patients can already choose where they have NHS treatment."

– Department of Health

Raft of cost-cutting measures considered by North Yorkshire County Council

A package of cost-cutting measures will be put forward at a North Yorkshire County Council meeting later this month.

If approved, a public consultation will begin. The proposals include a review of the criteria for adult social care, reductions in subsidies for public transport, charging for certain services provided at Household Waste Recycling Centres, and a review of transport arrangements for students.

The county council has to save £92m in four years ending on 31 March, 2015. It has warned that, following recent announcements by the Government over future funding, it will need to find a further estimated £66m between 2015 and 2019.


Sheffield cuts will lead to "massive change"

Don Valley Stadium - home to Olympic champion Jessica Ennis - could be demolished under cuts announced by Sheffield Council.

The Labour Council Leader has criticised the Government for imposing the cuts - shaving £50m from their 2013-2014 budget.

Council leader Julie Dore said the cuts were going "further and deeper", and the budget proposals will lead to "massive changes for the city."

Demolishing the Don Valley stadium would save £700,000 a year and allow the authority to avoid having to invest the £1.6m required over the coming years.

It is proposing to reopen and refurbish Woodburn Road stadium.

Stocksbridge Leisure Centre will also close and £10.5m will be cut from care for the elderly and vulnerable.

Other cost-cutting measures include closing 14 of the city's 27 libraries.

Ambulance service cuts

Proposed cost-cutting changes to staffing at A&E departments - including using Emergency Care Assistants to work alongside paramedics** **- have been attacked by unions.

Yorkshire Ambulance Trust insists there will be no overall reduction in the number of staff and no compulsory redundancies over the next five years. It says there will also be increased training opportunities. But unions representing staff argue it would downgrade the service.

Ray Gray is from Unison.

Extra £22m cuts warning by North Yorkshire County Council

The six hundred thousand people living in North Yorkshire face further cuts to local authority services after the county council said it may have to find extra savings of £22m because of the Government's spending squeeze.

Libraries, bus services, outdoor education and the schools music service have already been hit by cuts and 1,000 council jobs have gone in the last two years. Now civic leaders are warning of more cutbacks to come as they draw up plans to cope with an even bigger fall in Government grants.

The council had already drawn up plans to save £69m, but now Ministers have asked all councils to freeze council tax for a further year, in exchange for a grant equivalent to a tax rise of 1%. That could mean extra cuts of £21.8m

"Our original task of finding £69m in savings posed very considerable challenges. If we now have to find almost a third as much again, then clearly the challenge will be even greater. This is compounded by the timing of the Government’s announcement, as we expect this will only be confirmed in January, just a few months before we need to be making the savings.”

– Councillor John Weighell, leader North Yorkshire County Council.
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