South Tyneside Council is to increase council tax rise by 4.95% following its 2018/2019 budget meeting.
The increase is 4.95% which is made up of a 2.95% council tax increase and a 2% adult social care levy – this equates to around 91p per week for Band A households, into which the majority of households in the borough fall.
The announcement, which follows the council's budget meeting on Thursday night.
South Tyneside Council says it is making every pound count and is continuing to attract external funding for major projects.
In his budget speech Coun Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Innovation and Resources, renewed the council’s commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults in the borough.
He also announced that there would be:
· Protection of the discretionary social fund at its current value of £189,000
· Continued support for early years services through our network of children’s centres
· Exemption of Care leavers from council tax until the age of 25
· Maintenance of CAF funding at its current value of £1.4m
· Protection of the street cleaning budget
· More investment in roads and footpaths
Coun Malcolm said: “The people of South Tyneside have been really supportive and come forward to work with us to protect some of our important services such as community facilities and branch libraries.
"Without the support of the public these facilities would have been under threat of closure and now have the opportunity to go from strength to strength.
“It is only by working together in partnership that we are able to reduce the negative impact that these unprecedented government cuts are having on our communities.
“The crisis in adult social care funding continues as does the need for fairer funding across local government.
"We are still waiting to hear what the Government plans to do to address these two issues.
“There is no doubt that South Tyneside has been dealt an unfair hand but as a council we continue to do all we can to making a positive difference to people’s lives and to ensure that our borough is a great place to live, invest and bring up families.”
The council said books are balanced to meet budget demands, but pressures in adult and children’s social care continue to place further strain on the council’s already stretched budget.
Since 2010, local government has been continually required to make significant cuts. Over the past eight years the council has already delivered £145m of efficiencies with a further £11m to find in 2018/1019 and more in future years.
Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has confirmed that South Tyneside is the third hardest hit council financially in the country for the period 2010 to 2016.
It now has 54% less to spend on helping the people of South Tyneside. That is £746 less for each household, £402 worse off than the national average.
This year’s budget includes increased income generation through new and existing services, delivering greater value for money on external contracts, reducing the council’s carbon footprint and working more in partnership with the community and the voluntary sector to deliver services.