Council to consider £10m budget savings

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

North Tyneside Council will tonight consider a budget package to protect essential services while making cuts of £10million over the next financial year.

The largest proportion of savings, a total of £6million, could 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 could be saved by improving procurement processes, and offering residents more opportunities to do things for themselves, minimising bureaucracy.

Other proposed savings would come from a package designed to protect essential services including moving to alternative weekly bin collections and reduced opening hours at libraries.

The four main libraries – at Killingworth, Wallsend, Whitley Bay and North Shields – will remain open five days a week and half a day on a Saturday. Branch libraries will open two weekdays and half a day on Saturdays.

The council also plans to change the way social care services are commissioned to ensure residents receive tailored packages that suit their needs and support goes to those who need it most.

The council is proposing to accept the nationally recommended three per cent increase to support the rising costs of adult social care and a 1.99 per cent general council tax increase.

This means two thirds of the extra money coming from council tax will go directly into frontline services to provide social care for elderly and vulnerable adults in line with rising demand.

The council says it is is required to make savings to respond to the impact of years of massive cuts from central Government, increased demand for costly services, and additional burdens placed on local authorities by Government who assume that the council will pass these on to local taxpayers.

Local residents gave their views on savings proposals from November to January, and their feedback was used to shape the 2018/19 budget and ensure funding is focused on the issues that matter most to local people.

Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, 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.”

The council says it will continue to invest in projects that are key priorities to residents, including road and pavement repairs, and deliver the next stages in the regeneration of Wallsend and Whitley Bay as well as ambitious new plans for North Shields, Forest Hall and Killingworth.

The budget proposals will be considered at a meeting of full council at 6pm.