TOWN Hall chiefs will shed 1,300 jobs as they wield the axe to make savage budget cuts totalling more than £90m.
Libraries, swimming pools and weekly bin collections will be culled as Newcastle City Council bids to plug a £38m black hole in the next year alone.
And devastating funding pressures will see the North East’s flagship council axe nearly a sixth of its workforce to offset “grossly unfair” cuts from central Government.
A three-year programme – laid bare in a report due to go before the cabinet next week – reveals council chiefs plan to:
Pull the plug on more than £1.5m of funding for cultural organisations across the city.
Axe 10 of the city’s 18 libraries while making the City Library the heart of services.
Force 1,300 workers into redundancy with 750 council staff due to leave their posts by April next year.
Halve senior management posts but try to avoid compulsory redundancies among the council’s 8,500-strong staff.
Explore the future of leisure centres and close the City Pool to shake off a backlog of repairs.
Last night Coun Nick Forbes, leader of the council, revealed cultural organisations and social care will all feel the full force of the council’s three-year budget proposal.
He said: “This is one of the darkest days for public service in Newcastle. Cutting services is not what I got into politics to do.
“The cut in Government grant is grossly unfair – at a time when more and more families are turning to us for help.
“Financially, this has put us in an impossible position from which there was no escape.
“We will not abandon the residents of this city, but as we cease to provide some services they will have to do more for themselves and expect less from the council.
“Despite the tough choices we are forced to make, we will apply a fairness test to every decision by listening to residents and analysing future needs.”
Sweeping proposals will see city leaders withdraw more than £400,000 funding support for the NewcastleGateshead Initiative over three years.
And city leaders plan to scale back their contribution to the Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums by half, saving the council more that £820,000 over the next three years.
Funding of the Laing Art Gallery and the Discovery Museum will be affected while council chiefs plan to completely pull their £150,000 contribution to the Great North Museum.
Coun Forbes vowed to lobby central Government and in a letter handed to The Journal demanded a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron to urge a U-turn on cuts.
He warned that slashing cash available for social care would put youngsters at “risk of harm in their homes” and threatened to impact on “the poorest and most vulnerable in society”.
In the letter to Mr Cameron, Coun Forbes writes: “In Newcastle we have had to save £100m over the past two years. We now face making cuts of £90m over the next three years, which is more than a third of the budget.
“Newcastle has suffered far worse than many local authorities in the local Government financial settlements since 2010.
“We have calculated the ‘fairness gap’ and, if Newcastle’s cut had been in line with the national average, the council would have £20m extra to spend in the current financial year and £22m in the next financial year alone.”
He added: “You have set about balancing the nation’s books, in part, through cuts to local Government.
“But there is little convincing evidence that you have considered the impact of these cuts on individuals and communities.
“I am therefore writing to seek a meeting with you, so I can talk to you directly about the consequences of that decision.
“I want to explain to you personally the impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in society; children at risk of harm in their homes or elderly residents who need assistance with washing and dressing.
“I want to explain how cultural facilities like libraries, theatres and museums, so important in transforming our industrial heritage into a platform for creative renewal, are now seriously under threat.”
In the budget report, city leaders confirmed they planned to slim down their 8,500-strong workforce by more than 1,300, with 750 due to leave by April next year.
Fortnightly bin collections will be introduced bringing the service on Tyneside in line with neighbouring local authorities in Gateshead and Northumberland.
But they said they planned to freeze council tax and set up a new unit to tackle anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.
More than £3m is also being set aside for flood prevention and repairs in an effort to avoid a repeat of the scenes at Newburn earlier this year in which many families lost their homes.