Saturday, August 11, 2012

Council puts ‘skids’ under winter gritting programme

 Northumberland Labour Group

Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072


Council puts ‘skids’ under winter gritting programme

Councillors accused of ‘wrong priorities’ after further cuts revealed

Northumberland’s ruling Liberal group have today come under further fire after plans were revealed to take more money from the already under strain road gritting budget. Managers have been told to cut the gritting programme on top of the proposed 70 job losses already planned.

The council is proposing to reduce terms and conditions for existing staff and seek to make them re-apply for their existing jobs and are working on plans to ‘re-zone’ the county, introducing new shift patterns and fewer operators on gritting machines.

In a document seen by the NPL, the council is seeking to cut the number of out of hours operators and review operation centre’s in Allendale, Alnwick, Bearl, Berwick, Bellingham, Blyth, Halwhistle, Morpeth, Otterburn, Powburn and Rothbury.

Labour leader Grant Davey said

‘This is another disturbing twist in the ongoing and chaotic saga of this Liberal administration. It seems that frontline services are being targeted and its clear that the administration have their priorities all wrong. Only 12 months ago the council spent over £400,000 creating a state of the art ‘fish pass’ at Hedgley which is not a priority. Now we find that plans are well advanced to cut frontline workers, reduce gritting operations while keeping their finger’s crossed that the winter won’t be too severe. We can be assured though that while resident’s may struggle to get to work and services may be disrupted during the winter, the trout at Hedgley will enjoy their state of the art ‘fish pass’.


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