Council formally approves budget and 5% tax rise

Residents are to be hit with a five per cent rise in their council tax bills, despite a lower alternative being proposed.

Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 7:50 am
Quadrant, North Tyneside Council at Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside. REF 2602156943

North Tyneside Council voted through its 2017/18 budget at a full council meeting last Thursday, which will see £18million of savings, as part of plans to save £50million over the next three years.

The authority, which has already saved £101million since 2010, is increasing its council tax to meet the shortfall of government cuts and demand for social care.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This is an incredibly tough time as we are faced with massive government funding cuts as well as pressure on our care services.

“But, it is not just about social care. Many of the services our residents value – including investment in roads and pavements, access to libraries and leisure services, waste services and children’s services – are also under pressure.

“However, I am clear that we can rise to this challenge.

“This plan seeks to protect and improve essential services for the people of North Tyneside, invest in the future of the borough, grow the local economy, create more jobs and opportunities, and build a more modern council that enables people to do more for themselves.

“Despite these unprecedented and unrelenting government funding cuts my budget will look after the environment by protecting weekly refuse collections, encouraging people to recycle more and continuing investment in local environmental services.”

The budget will look to safeguard the future of leisure centres and libraries, spend £5m on maintaining roads and pavements, continue investment programmes including Whitley Bay seafront and the Swans site in Wallsend, and deliver 3,000 new affordable homes over the next ten years.

The Conservative party proposed a three per cent tax rise and £4m extra in roads and pavements, but it was rejected by Labour members.

Group leader Coun Judith Wallace said: “The Elected Mayor should not be increasing tax by nearly five per cent while not dealing properly with the huge backlog of highway repairs.

“The Council recently got a large £2.69m dividend from its Newcastle Airport shares, more than enough to keep the tax rise down to the thee per cent needed for social care, and with enough left over to also fund roads and pavement repairs.

“Conservative councillors know that our crumbling roads and cracked pavements are real problems for residents. We could provide nearly £6m in total.”