Council considering 4% tax rise to safeguard services

Quadrant, North Tyneside Council at Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside.'REF 2602156909
Quadrant, North Tyneside Council at Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside.'REF 2602156909

Residents are facing a four per cent tax rise as North Tyneside Council looks to save £16million while safeguarding services.

Cabinet members approved a draft budget yesterday (Wednesday) which they say will ensure the borough has a bright future.

A four per cent council tax rise is expected to generate £3million – with half being used to support adult social care and the rest to support delivery of other front-line services as well as libraries, leisure centres, and weekly bin collections.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “Unfortunately, because of the severe funding cuts by the Government, we have no other option but to raise council tax for the first time in five years.

“This is in line with other local authorities. But I want to be really clear, this is not a decision that we have taken lightly.

“We are now having to ask residents to pay a little more in their council tax to help protect services. The proposed increase equates to around 68p per week for band A households.

“We are determined to continue to provide excellent value for money and we will continue to help those who may have difficulty paying the full amount.”

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Mrs Redfearn added: “This is a plan and a budget that will ensure that North Tyneside has a bright future ahead and will continue to be a great place to live, work and visit for generations to come.”

Key points in the budget are that every child has the best possible start in life; continued excellence in schools; a good choice of quality housing; continued focus on keeping the place clean, attractive and safe; improved transport routes; continued improvements in the protection against flooding; and continued multimillion-pound investments to regenerate the borough.

“Because of recent budget decisions by the Government and legislative changes, the level of cuts that we have to find over the next three years are alarmingly high at almost £56million.

“In the autumn, the council outlined its financial position. This highlighted a continuation of massive government funding cuts coupled with significant spending pressures on our already stretched budgets.

“Since then, we have been consulting with our residents, businesses, key partners, voluntary and community groups and staff on how to reduce the impact of these cuts so that we can meet the difficult financial challenge ahead and continue to deliver the services that people need.

“Worryingly, these government cuts have come at a time when there is also a growing demand for some of our most costly services, such as adult and children’s social care. This means that some very tough decisions have had to be taken this year.

“We have not made sweeping cuts to services across the board. Our approach is to focus on what people tell us is most important to them and to look at the key issues facing the borough.

“We use this to shape a clear set of priorities in our Council Plan and our budget proposals. In this way, we plan for the long-term future of the borough rather than a series of year-on-year cuts.”