Don’t make cuts that will harm region’s economic growth
BUSINESS bosses have urged Newcastle City Council not to cut investment in areas that may hit regional growth.
In a submission to the local authority, the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) has called on the council to help companies fill the economic gap caused by the Government cuts to public sector funding.
The city council must find around £100m in savings and cut approximately 1,300 jobs over the next three years and has been consulting with businesses on budget proposals.
NECC head of member relations, Jonathan Walker, said: “Reduced local authority spending means difficult choices must be made, but we strongly urge not imposing damaging cuts on services which will enable and support vital investment, such as planning and development.
“We are asking the council to support business confidence in a time of economic uncertainty.
“There is a lot of good work planned in Newcastle in the coming years, which could help restore activity stalled in the economic downturn.
“This is a message that needs to be continually reinforced to demonstrate to firms both working and considering investing in the city that it remains open and friendly to businesses.
“Given the council’s decision to adopt a three-year budget strategy, it is inevitable that many specific spending decisions are yet to be clarified.
“It is essential that different sections of the council work closely with businesses most likely to be affected as these plans crystallize, so the impact can be understood and mitigated.”
NECC members also raised concerns over the wider economic impact of proposed cuts to arts and cultural institutions.
“We recognise that arts funding is not a statutory function,” added Mr Walker. “However, the proposed removal of support has the potential to harm the city’s reputation as a natural home for the arts, with implications for tourism income and Newcastle’s attractiveness as a place to live and do business.”