Newcastle residents feeling the impact of austerity cuts

Massive cuts in Government funding are affecting how Newcastle residents feel about living in their city.

A survey of residents commissioned by Newcastle City Council demonstrates growing concerns about the state of public services, following years of austerity funding cuts to services provided by the Council.

By 2020, Government funding to the city will have fallen by £282 million – cuts equating to £268 per person in Newcastle, compared to an average of £131 per person in England.

Newcastle residents are becoming more pessimistic about their financial prospects over the next 12 months, with almost as many (22%) feeling their financial circumstances will get worse as those (23%) who believe they will improve. Also, whilst the great majority of residents (85%) are satisfied with their home as a place to live, there was a 6% fall in the numbers of residents who are satisfied with their affordability.

The survey identified a 13% increase (since 2015) in the number of residents reporting rubbish or litter as a problem and a 9% fall in resident satisfaction with the cleanliness of Newcastle’s streets. 58% residents wanted to see improvement in street cleaning as a top priority.

44% of residents reported being dissatisfied with the state of Newcastle’s roads and pavements and whilst a majority (56%) of residents are satisfied with refuse and waste collection, satisfaction levels have fallen over the last two years. Despite this, 76% of residents in the Survey were satisfied with Newcastle as a place to live.

Cllr Veronica Dunn, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Since the start of austerity, Newcastle Council has warned of the damage caused by unfair and disproportionate cuts. The council has played a key role in national lobbying efforts to stand up to austerity, and will continue to challenge this Government on the need to invest in our services.

“There are many positives in the Survey findings and it is gratifying to see that 73% agree that their local community is one where people from different backgrounds get on well together. However, the sheer scale of the cuts makes it impossible for the Council to deliver the same level of services – and it is no surprise that the proportion of residents who feel they are getting good value for money is falling.

“We are doing our very best to minimise the impacts of the funding cuts on the city, particularly for our most vulnerable communities. However, it is clear that many people are feeling real change in the way that the Council is able provide services and this is causing increasing dissatisfaction. Listening to public concerns and responding to need is more important than ever in these challenging times and that is exactly what we will be doing as a council.