Council boss tells of Budget fears

South Tyneside Council leader, Cllr Tracey Dixon, says the borough has little to celebrate from this week’s Budget.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 3:27 pm
Cllr Tracey Dixon

Cllr Dixon said: “Whilst I welcome the support to business and extension of furlough, the Chancellor did not go far enough. It is a drop in the ocean compared to the significant loss of income that many businesses are facing.

"As a council, we will continue to distribute grants as efficiently and effectively as possible, to add to the millions of pounds we have already processed to help keep businesses afloat so far.

“I’m deeply concerned that the Universal Credit top up is coming to an end just as the furlough scheme finishes.

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"It is clear to anyone that we face a cliff edge in the autumn when many jobs may be at risk. Whilst it is vital that people have job security in the coming months I don’t feel that the Chancellor went far enough to provide longer term reassurances.

"I have also written to the Government to ask them to reconsider their position on Universal Credit.”

Cllr Dixon added: “The Chancellor talks of ‘levelling up’ but the North East felt like the poor relation, missing out on significant projects like the Freeport which could have been a real opportunity to drive economic growth.

“Yet again, it wasn’t what the Chancellor announced but what was missing. We still need reassurances on the future of local government finances and adult and children’s social care.

"In South Tyneside the delivery of local public services will impact most heavily on the poorest people. This year, even more than any other we have proven that we provide services that people rely on, investment in them is vital.

“Whilst this may appear a bleak outlook, I want to reassure residents and businesses that we will continue to fight for the people of South Tyneside.

"What we need now is further commitment from the Government to help us lead our own local recovery, building on our own knowledge, expertise and understanding of our own communities.

"Regionally we have already submitted our proposals to play a leading role in the national recovery to support innovation and job creation.”