Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Crisis plan unveiled by council

A 21m package to support Newcastle's economy through the financial crisis has been unveiled by the City Council.

It has been announced that council tax bills will rise by 2.9% to cover the cost of the proposals.

The cash will be used to boost regeneration projects and raise benefits and pensions.

John Shipley, council leader, has already confirmed that 500 jobs are to go at the town hall to help meet a 20m budget shortfall.

Protecting services

The new package will include 7m extra spending on road and pavement repairs, 1.4m will be used to help renovate the homes of people with disabilities and 75,000 will go towards funding the cost of rising fuel bills.

Mr Shipley said: "We are protecting frontline services and helping businesses and individuals survive the economic recession.

"Our budget proposals includes an extra 21 million on infrastructure and regeneration projects, which will help keep many people in work in the construction industry locally.

"Without this extra spending package, our council tax bills would have been even lower, but we think that supporting the city's economy through this crisis is simply the right thing to do."

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