Families in South Tyneside are set to see their council tax rise by almost £60 at least this year.
The council’s latest spending plans have set out a 3.95 per cent increase for bills across the borough as it seeks to slash £12m from its books.
Once further add-ons are included for the fire service and police, it means a bottom-rated Band A home will need to shell out £1,189.19 in 2019/20.
Households are due to be hit in the pocket once more as South Tyneside Council also finds itself trying to deal with the impact of almost a decade of government cuts.
Coun Ed Malcolm, cabinet member for resources and innovation, said: “Since 2010 South Tyneside has had to save a total of £168m.
“We have already lost almost 40 per cent of real spending power over the last nine years and are in the top three councils worst hit.
“Of course this means that we cannot simply maintain the status quo.”
As well government cuts already delivered, the council faces a double challenge in not knowing where or how deep the axe is likely to land in future years.
A four-year funding deal agreed with ministers is due to run out next year (2020), but town hall chiefs currently have no idea what is likely to replace it.
“We’ve been working for the last four years on the figure that we get from government,” said Coun Malcolm.
“If we don’t have that figure and we don’t know what’s coming in it’s difficult to set a budget.
“In your household, if you didn’t know what wage you were getting how do you determine how to pay for your electric or your gas or your food.”
This year’s council tax increase is made up of a 2.95 per cent rise in base council tax with a further one per cent added on as a ‘adult social care levy’ to cover mounting care costs.
In last year’s budget, the Chancellor announced a range of new initiatives to try and tackle problems with social care and children’s services, another major drain on the council’s resources.
But Coun Malcolm was scathing about these measures, calling it a ‘budget of one-offs’ which didn’t address long term issues.
Government cuts since 2010 mean about 60 per cent of the council’s income now comes from council tax bills, expected to account for £60.521m in 2019/20, and business rates which it collects itself.
This has potentially left the burden being shouldered by the borough’s poorest Band A households, which make up almost two thirds of homes in South Tyneside.
A Band A household is facing an annual bill of £1,189.19 in 2019/20, compared to £3,567.58 for top-rated Band H homes which make up just 0.1 per cent of properties in the borough – a difference of £2,378.39.
The council’s ruling cabinet is due to consider the budget plans on Wednesday (February 6) ahead of a final decision by full council on february 28.
Expected council tax bill by property band (including expected police and fire precepts):
Band A – £1,189.19
Band B – £1,387.39
Band C – £1,585.58
Band D – £1,783.79
Band E – £2,180.19
Band F – £2,576.58
Band G – £2,972.98
Band H – £3,567.58
James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service