I was pleased with the reaction of people who enjoyed a tour of the Spanish City dome to see the excellent progress being made.
At the centre of our £36m seafront regeneration plans, the dome is becoming something we can all be proud of.
Elsewhere, we are making good progress towards our target of 3,000 affordable homes over ten years, and we are on the brink of completing North Tyneside Living, our sheltered housing renewal scheme, with nine developments to be unveiled in the spring.
A key challenge for local authorities is how to cope with funding reductions from Central Government, which force some difficult decisions. In our budget proposals, we will continue multi-million pound investments and strive to protect essential services.
However, there is no hiding from the financial challenges, in particular the rising cost of adult social care. We have to follow the Government’s advice with a proposal to increase the council tax precept to pay for these services.
I must be clear that this is a relatively short-term measure. I am determined that we will continue to work closely with the NHS, other authorities and the community and voluntary sector to find longer term solutions.
I am committed to ensuring that our elderly and vulnerable residents are properly cared for. There is nobody more determined to tackle these challenges.