UK & World News
City Leaders Warn Of 'Civil Unrest' Amid Cuts
City leaders have warned that spending cuts could lead to social unrest and the "break-up of civil society".
The council leaders of three of England's biggest cities - Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield - say the north of England has been unfairly targeted.
But there are also signs of a backlash from rural authorities, mostly Conservative-led, who claim the shires are losing out disproportionately under the Government's cuts.
The criticism presents a headache for David Cameron, who announced in the Autumn Statement that councils must find a further 2% of savings in 2014/15.
That comes on top of the 27% cuts announced in 2010.
The Labour leaders of Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield - where Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is an MP - wrote to The Observer accusing Whitehall of "Dickensian" views.
"Rising crime, increasing community tension and more problems on our streets will contribute to the break-up of civil society if we do not turn back," they write.
"The one nation Tory brand of conservatism recognised the duty of government to help the country's most deprived in the belief that economic and social responsibility benefited us all.
"The unfairness of the Government's cuts is in danger of creating a deeply divided nation.
"We urge them to stop what they are doing now and listen to our warnings before the forces of social unrest start to smoulder."
Separately, The Sunday Telegraph reported that more than 120 rural councils were weighing up a judicial review of the spending settlement for local authorities because it was "grossly unfair" and would hit services in remote areas.