Spending Review: Concern across England over cuts

Swingeing cuts detailed in the government's Spending Review have been labelled "devastating" by a major public sector union.

Unison said the prospect of compulsory redundancies among 490,000 job losses could lead to strike action.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy, of Greater Manchester Police, said a 4% per year cut to police funding would result in fewer officers on the beat.

And Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon described the cuts as a "black day".

Chancellor George Osborne said the four year £81bn cuts were guided by "fairness, reform and growth".

Mr Osborne vowed to restore "sanity to our public finances and stability to our economy" through the cuts.

Police cuts

He told MPs: "Today is the day when Britain steps back from the brink, when we confront the bills from a decade of debt."

But the cuts led to one council leader warning that there could be "civil disobedience" among young people who face little chance of finding a job.

Another said people may resort to cleaning their own streets to free up council staff for more essential services.

Mr Fahy, who speaks on workforce issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said cuts to policing were broadly in line with expectations but there was "no question" there would be fewer officers on the streets.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has previously warned it was preparing to cut 3,100 jobs. Hampshire police is planning to axe 1,400 jobs; Devon and Cornwall 700 officers, while a number of other forces have warned of significant job losses.

'Black day'

Doncaster Council, which employs about 5,200 people, announced plans for 800 redundancies within the next five months, as it seeks to make £80m in cuts over four years.

Unison described the move as "devastating" and warned compulsory redundancies could spark strike action.

There are suggestions that Cornwall will face particular hardship over public sector cuts after the council announced about 2,000 jobs would go.

Stuart Roden, from Unison, said: "If you live in Birmingham or London, there's another local authority next door.

"You can maybe get on a bus and go up the road and find yourself another job - you just can't do that in Cornwall."

Peter Callow, leader of Blackpool Council, said they now faced "extremely tough and very difficult decisions".

Labelling the announcement "a black day", Mr Mallon said his area would be left "vulnerable" after the council had to cut £45m from its budget.

A recent BBC survey found the North East town was the least resilient area in the UK.

BBC West Midlands' Political Correspondent Patrick Burns said the Midlands faced a "decade of sobriety".

"The public spending cuts announced today inevitably mean tens of thousands of jobs in our region will be lost over the next four years," he said.

The chief executive of North East Lincolnshire Council suggested that people in Grimsby may choose to sweep their own streets, so the local authority could prioritise frontline services.


A coffin and hearse were driven through the streets of Dorchester, Dorset in protest at the level of public service cuts and a similar protest took place in Reading, Berkshire.

Protests also took place in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, where deputy prime minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg was dubbed "Cleggzilla" by protesters outside the town hall.

Transport for London has been told to reduce its budget by £2bn over four years, but sources have told the BBC that bus and Tube services would largely be protected.

In the East, motorists in Kent are set to face increased charges for the Dartford Crossing as a result of the Spending Review.

Although subject to consultation, prices are expected to increase from £1.50 to £2.00 in 2011, then to £2.50 in 2012.

Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond confirmed a £1.4bn upgrade to the A14, which connects Northamptonshire and Leicestershire to Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, would not go ahead.

But the chancellor announced some projects would still go ahead despite the cuts.

These include a £500m investment for the Tyne and Wear Metro system and Tees Valley bus network, the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street railway station and the Mersey Gateway project, which will see a second Mersey crossing.

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