Council looking to freeze council tax again

North Tyneside Council's Quadrant headquarters.

North Tyneside Council's Quadrant headquarters.

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Borough residents are facing a freeze in their council tax bills, council officials have said.

Mayor Norma Redfearn has revealed that North Tyneside Council will keep council tax rates at the same level for the third year running.

Cabinet members confirmed their final budget proposals at an extraordinary meeting yesterday (Thursday) which will now go to full council next month.

However, the authority is still facing a cut to their budget over the next three years.

Mrs Redfearn said: “North Tyneside Council has had to cope with massive government cuts which mean we have to remove a further £40m to £46m from our budgets over the next three years, in addition to the cuts of £29m already achieved over the last two years.

“I have kept the council tax increase to zero percent for the last two years, saved £29m in efficiency savings and through sound financial management ensured that the council has under spent its budget for the last two years.

“For the third year running I can announce that I will not be increasing council tax levels.”

Proposals drawn up set out £14m of efficiencies without impacting on frontline services, with officials saying no leisure centres or libraries will close while bin collections will remain weekly.

There will be increased investment in roads and pavements; continued regeneration of borough town centres; progress on regenerating the seafront and Whitley Bay; development on the Swans site; and building more affordable homes.

Mrs Redfearn added: “With the level of cuts imposed on the council, not all services can continue in their present form. However, this budget seeks to protect those services residents have told me are important to them.

“In addition this budget will also see a continuation of our investment in North Tyneside to deliver regeneration at the coast and in our town centres, bring more jobs to the borough, build more affordable housing and make this a well connected borough in terms of our infrastructure.

“I will also continue to work to support local businesses and encourage inward investment which has resulted in thousands of new jobs being created in the last two years.”

The council is continuing to streamline it organisation, reducing management costs by £2m and lowering energy consumption.

The proposals will be presented to council on February 5.