Council proposes a 2% tax rise

North Tyneside Council.
North Tyneside Council.

Residents are facing a two per cent rise in their council tax as officials look to offset a funding shortfall.

Mayor Norma Redfearn has proposed the increase in her draft budget as North Tyneside Council looks to make £15.753m of savings in its 2016/17 budget to offset a government funding cut of £9m and rising cost pressures.

The increase, expected to generate £1.5m, will support adult social care costs announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his recent Spending Review.

The council, which has saved £76m in the last five years, is now waiting for final figures from the Government before drawing up a more detailed budget.

Mrs Redfearn said: “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 – more than £51m.

“As a result, we’ve had very tough decisions to make, and the continuing budget reductions mean it is inevitable that there will be a big impact on the level of services we can deliver and that our residents expect.

“We’re in an extremely difficult position as the cuts come at a time when there is a growing demand for some of our most costly services, such as adult and children’s social care.

“Because of this, in line with most other local authorities, we have no other option but to raise council tax for the first time in five years. We are determined to provide excellent value for money, and we will continue to help those who may have difficulty paying the full amount.”

She added: “I want to reassure residents that the council is financially well-managed and we have thoroughly and rigorously considered the proposed changes to ensure that essential services are protected.

“It’s also important to remember that despite these extremely challenging economic times, North Tyneside is prospering and I am determined this will continue.

“We will still deliver our ambitious plans to regenerate Whitley Bay’s seafront, Spanish City Dome and the Swans site in Wallsend. There is also a massive investment in our roads.

“Our education is excellent; only last week were our first and primary schools rated the best in England by Ofsted, while our middle and secondary schools continue to be recognised as exceptional places for our young people to grow and succeed.

“All of this is improving the borough, bringing new investment, creating jobs and attracting more visitors, which is good news for our local economy.

“We will shortly be consulting further on these draft proposals and I’d urge everyone to give their views.”

More information about the consultation will be available at www.northtyneside.gov.uk