Council proposing a 5% tax rise in budget
Residents are facing a major tax hike as North Tyneside Council looks to save Â£18million.
Cabinet members approved the proposed budget drawn up by Mayor Norma Redfearn at their meeting yesterday (Wednesday).
The authority is looking to save more than £18m in 2017/18 and nearly £50m in the next three years.
As a result, the budget being put forward to Full Council next week is proposing a 5% rise in council tax.
North Tyneside Council, which has saved £101m since 2010, says the costs of important services – such as supporting vulnerable adults and children’s social care – is increasing.
Residents, community groups and local businesses were given their say on the budget proposals during consultation held towards the end of last year.
Mrs Redfearn said: “This is an incredibly tough time as we are faced with steeply declining government funding as well as relentless pressure on our already slashed budgets. I am clear that we can rise to this challenge.
“I would like to thank all of those who gave us their feedback during our budget consultation.
“We have listened to residents and understand what is important to them, and have set out a clear plan for the future of North Tyneside.
“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 proposals include protecting sport, leisure centres and libraries as well as £5m spent each year on maintaining roads and pavements.
To meet the challenges and rising costs of increasing demand for children’s social care and services for older and vulnerable people, the council will develop new ways of working that include helping families at an earlier stage and providing new and modern services to support care at home and in residential settings.
It will also work more closely with the NHS and adult social care services.
The proposed budget will continue the council’s multi-million pound investment programme to transform key areas across the borough including Whitley Bay Spanish City Dome and seafront and the Swans site in Wallsend.
The council will also continue to deliver 3,000 new affordable homes over the next 10 years and 900 new sheltered homes for older residents.
As well as the council tax rise, the council will also increase the adult social care precept, generating an extra £2.25m.
Mrs Redfearn said: “With so many competing demands to pay for services we have taken a lot of time to scrutinise our finances, looking at every pound we spend.
“Funding reductions on this scale mean difficult decisions have had to be made, and, unfortunately, many more lie ahead, if we are to manage with far less money.
“However I am determined to protect essential services to residents, invest in the future and support the local economy.
“As a ‘listening’ Mayor I am committed to focusing on the things that people have told us are most important to them such as jobs, health, clean streets, roads and pavements.
“I also know that people expect us to protect essential services and make sure that the council operates in as efficient a way as possible, providing excellent value for money for local taxpayers.”
The proposed budget will now be discussed at Full Council on February 2, before being finally approved at a Council meeting later in the month.