Council approves budget with planned £84m investment

North Tyneside Council's Quadrant headquarters.
North Tyneside Council's Quadrant headquarters.

Plans to spend £84m improving the borough have been formally approved.

North Tyneside Council approved their 2015/16 budget at a meeting on Thursday and say it will meet the challenges, deliver a successful future and achieve the priorities of residents.

Among the proposals are a freeze in council tax levels, although there is an increased contribution from Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire Authority – resulting in a rise of between 4p and 12p a week for households.

Included in the proposed £84m investment are delivering better roads, more affordable housing, progress on the seafront regeneration and Spanish City Dome, improved parks and enable the Council and its partners to bring jobs to the Swans site in Wallsend.

The council is also aiming to make £14m savings this year towards a target of £40m to £46m over the next three years.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am pleased that despite having to cope with massive reductions in our government funding we are, for the third year running, not increasing the amount of money that residents will have to pay towards council services through the council tax.

“Reaching these budget decisions has involved us – and our partners – taking some very difficult decisions to achieve the best results for residents.

“The council has to remove a further £40m to £46m over the next three years, in addition to the £29m already achieved over the last two years, so there is no way we can achieve that without any impact.

“It is impossible for the council to keep reducing what we spend on the scale required without changing some services.”

She added: “We have taken an approach that enables us to prioritise the services that our residents have identified as most important to them.

“It will allow the council to continue to deliver its Council Plan priorities that have been shaped by feedback from residents through our commitment to listen.

“We will achieve the £14m efficiencies needed this year without closing leisure centres or libraries. We will maintain weekly bin collections, a fortnightly recycling collection and a free garden waste collection – all important to our residents.”

Among the efficiencies planned are to streamline and reshape the organisation, reduce management costs, cutting energy use and making better use of technology and its assets to reduce costs.

Mrs Redfearn added: “Despite tough times I believe we have done our level best to protect and develop the things that matter most to residents – good schools, more jobs and prosperity, better health, decent and affordable homes and a safe and clean borough.”