A COUNCIL tax rise in South Tyneside for the first time in five years moved a step closer yesterday.
Members of the council’s decision-making cabinet gave their approval to a 1.95 per cent hike.
That would equate to an extra 32p a week, or £17 a year, for the majority of borough residents living in Band A properties.
The cabinet also approved a 2.5 per cent rise in council rents.
With the average rent currently £78 a week, that works out at an additional £1.50 a week.
Coun Ed Malcolm, the council’s lead member for resources and innovation, said “Value for money is at the heart of everything we do”.
He pledged that social justice and protecting the most vulnerable members of society was paramount – despite the financial pressures.
He said that was one of the ways the council is continuing to provide a ‘safety net’ for those in need is through the Welfare Support Scheme, which distributes ood tokens that can reredeemed in local supermarkets.
Coun Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council, said research had shown that the borough public was aware of the pressures the council was under, adding: “Residents understand the very difficult decisions that have to be made in terms of balancing the books and keeping services operating.”
The council’s budget proposals for 2015/16 are now to go before the full council for final approval on Thursday, February 26.