Mayor slams ministers for "incompetence" over budget cuts

A mayor whose council is facing huge cuts across the board, including to parks and environmental services, accused ministers of trying to con the public during a council meeting.

Ray Mallon said whopping budget reductions would devastate Middlesbrough over the coming years. He told a council meeting last week the cuts were driven by ideology as much as the need to cut the national deficit.

Middlesbrough has to save £13m from its budget this year, with the total figure expected to reach more than £72m in five years. The latest cuts will see services withdrawn and cut, with the loss of up to 220 jobs on top of the 450 cut since 2010.

Proposed cuts include reductions in grass cutting, horticulture services and street cleaning worth £125,000 and merging environment with community protection and regeneration services to trim £623,000. Garden-waste collection services are slated to be abandoned to save £300,000.

Dismissing claims by ministers that Middlesbrough’s spending power would decrease only marginally Mallon said: "I have concluded the civil servants and ministers are incompetent or just morally fraudulent.

"It is a vain attempt to con people and peddle a story that places the Government in the best possible light against a backdrop of poor economic growth and rising national debt."

A public consultation is due to end next week and the council is set to approve a budget in early March.


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