LEADER'S VIEW: 'Rest assured, we will fight to get a fair deal for South Tyneside'
As a council, setting a balanced budget is one of the most difficult but important responsibilities we have. This month councillors will consider our budget for the forthcoming year as part of the medium-term Financial- Plan, setting out our investment priorities.
The Government Grant given to us to run vital services has reduced dramatically. Despite lobbying Government for a fair funding review, we have seen the money coming into South Tyneside more than half since 2010. As we work in an even tighter envelope its even more important that we target spend on those areas that mean the most to our residents.
This year our budget has been prepared using evidence, insights, and feedback from thousands of people right across the borough. Its content aligns with our 20-year Vision and its five ambitions to make South Tyneside a place where people live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives.
Despite the continued financial pressures, we have been under for the last decade we cannot stand still. It is important that we have the assets and facilities for people to enjoy in generations to come and that is why we continue to invest in the borough’s capital programme including roads, footpaths, accessible playground equipment, housing stock, environmental and renewable energy schemes, adult and children’s social care accommodation and the regeneration of all three towns.
In this year’s budget, money has been directed towards addressing residents’ concerns on the ground including improved action on weeds and a team of Community Engagement Officers who will work with residents on issues ranging from waste and recycling to crime prevention. We know that the current cost of living crisis is creating intense pressures, and we will continue to support residents wherever we can. We have enhanced our welfare support provision and currently support 18,400 households through our council tax support scheme. In addition, we have proposed an additional £100 Council Tax rebate for households on low income.
We are here to support through hardship and crisis whilst still providing the vital services that you rely on like bin collections, customer services, leisure services, children’s and adult social care and much more.
We now have increased dependency upon external funding so will be doing everything we can to bring money to South Tyneside, following on from our successes securing millions from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Arts Council priority funding and support for our renewable energy schemes. We will go back into Levelling Up round three and our minded to devolution deal could open additional funding opportunities for the borough. Rest assured we will fight to get a fair deal for South Tyneside.