A survey has revealed that massive central government funding cuts are eroding the quality of life of Newcastle’s residents.
Though the survey – conducted between July and September 2017 – found that Newcastle’s residents still feel life in their city has many positives, the effects of years of austerity are being keenly felt.
By 2020, central government funding to the city will have fallen by £282 million. This works out at £268 per inhabitant, significantly higher than the English average of £131 lost per person due to cuts.
The survey – conducted by BMG Research on behalf of Newcastle City Council – collected the views of almost 2,000 residents on various aspects of their lives.
44% of residents expressed dissatisfaction with the state of Newcastle’s roads and pavements. Since 2015, there has been a 13% increase in residents reporting rubbish or litter as a problem and a 9% fall in people satisfied with the cleanliness of the city’s streets.
58% of Newcastle’s inhabitants would like to see improvements to street cleaning made a top priority. Only 56% of residents said they were satisfied with waste and rubbish collection.
With regards to their financial prospects over the coming twelve months, around the same number of people (22%) felt their prospects would get worse as felt they would improve (23%).
Though most residents (85%) are satisfied with their home as a place to live, 6% fewer residents are satisfied with their home’s affordability.
Overall, however, Newcastle’s inhabitants still view life in their city positively. The survey found that 76% of respondents are satisfied with Newcastle as a place to live.
Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for resources, Cllr Veronica Dunn, 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 impact 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 to 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.”
(Featured image courtesy of Dun.can, from Flickr Creative Commons)