£10m budget cuts agreed by council

Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn.

North Tyneside Council has agreed a budget package to protect essential services while saving more than £10million over the next financial year.

An alternative budget proposed by opposition councillors was rejected at Thursday night’s full council meeting due to concerns about the financial risks it posed to the council.

Norma Redfearn, elected mayor, said: “We have had to make some tough choices again this year to ensure we can continue to provide good-quality services with reduced funding.

“This package of savings protects essential and frontline services as much as possible, increases the long-term financial stability of the council and ensures the council works better for local people.

“North Tyneside has a strong track record of high educational attainment, excellent business support and its award-winning environment. This budget package will help us to maintain those high standards and make sure the borough continues to be a great place to live, work and visit.”

As part of the budget package agreed, the council was forced to increase council tax to protect its financial sustainability. The council accepted the nationally recommended 3 per cent increase to support the rising costs of adult social care and a 1.99 per cent general council tax increase.

The largest proportion of savings, a total of £6million, will be made by re-organising how the council does things and streamlining structures to make sure it works better for local people.

A further £1.5million will be saved by improving procurement processes, and offering residents more opportunities to do things for themselves, ensuring that bureaucracy is minimised and spending on essential services can be maximised.

Other savings include changing the way social care services are commissioned to ensure residents receive tailored packages that suit their individual needs.

Library opening hours will also be reduced and there will be a move to alternative weekly bin collections.