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Angry exchanges as Leicester City Council passes "savage cuts" budget.

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Leicester City Council  has tonight approved controversial plans that will see millions of pounds stripped from its spending in the next two years.
City Sir Peter Soulsby said his authority's ability to provide vital services had been "seriously undermined by the harshest cuts in Government grants in living memory."
City councillors tonight passed budget plans that will mean some £3 million cut from the council's £288 million running cost next year followed by a further £6 million in the following 12 months.
He added: "It's not just bad news for service users and those who provide those services.  It's bad news for the Leicester economy.
"And it is clear there is worse to come.
"We have sought to mitigate, where possible, the impact of these proposals."
As the city council's Labour majority passed the budget, which is to see more than 100 council jobs scrapped next year, there were cries of shame from anti-cuts protesters in council chamber's public gallery.
They had earlier gathered outside Leicester Town Hall to protest against the cuts and lobby members - particularly over proposed £2.2 million cuts to homelessness budgets and the scrapping of 200 hostel beds.
The campaigners accused Labour-run authority of failing to stand up to cuts imposed by the Tory and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government.
At one point around 50 chanting demonstrators in Town Hall Square pushed past council staff to get into the building foyer for a loud but peaceful protest.  They were then removed from the building by around 15 police officers.
Inside the meeting, Labour councillors queued up to denounce the Government which was described as "wretched" and "uncaring."
Sole Liberal Democrat opposition councillor Nigel Porter was involved in angry exchanges with Labour members who said his party was responsible for national policies affecting the city's most vulnerable residents.
Coun Porter accused Sir Peter and deputy city mayor Rory Palmer of accepting large pay packets while cutting services.
He said: "Most people think its disgusting that Sir Peter and his number two are cashing in.  Sir Peter's number two will have pocketed nearly £200,000 over the four years of this council.
"If they cared about the homeless, they would stop buying old post offices and empty factories.  They would stop wasting money on a £4 million patio (Jubilee Square) so Sir Peter can have his little bit of immortality."
After he spoke councillor Porter was called "a grotesque parody of an opposition councillor" by Labour assistant mayor Andy Connelly.
Sir Peter described the Liberal Democrat's comments as silliness  and Coun Palmer said the people of Leicester expected politics to be carried out with decency and decorum.
Sir Peter added: "We are heavily dependent on Government funding.  It's a fact that when the Government makes cuts we are the ones left having to explain them and implement them.
"The scale of that is unprecedented and the savagery is appalling.
"These decisions are not good ones.  There are no good decisions but we must make the best of the very serious situation we are in."
From April council tax in Leicester will rise by 1.97 per cent.
A 4.1 per cent rise in council tenants rents had been proposed but  that was reduced to a 3.4 per cent increase.
The approval of the homeless strategy has been held back until recent consultation results are considered.

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