Final council tax rise approved for South Tyneside - this is how much you will pay

Council tax is set to rise again in South Tyneside following a decision by town hall bosses.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 3:56 pm
Council tax bills are rising again in South Tyneside.

The increase is set to come into effect from April at the start of the 2021/22 financial year and will see the majority of households in the borough, which fall in a Band A category, pay an extra 83p a week towards council services.

Additional precepts for police and fire and rescue services will also be added to final bills before they are sent to households.

Bosses at South Tyneside Council faced opposition criticism for raising council tax by 3.95% at a time when many families are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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South Shields Town Hall

But the local authority’s Labour leadership said the rise was needed to balance the books and to allow investment into services to benefit residents.

“Council tax is an outdated and regressive tax desperately in need of reform,” said councillor Joanne Bell, cabinet member for resources and innovation.

“However, it is one of the few tools we have to raise resources, ten years ago over 65% of our resources were directly from the Government, this has fallen now to 40%.

“In the annual Government finance settlement, the Government announced that overall spending power for councils would be increased by 4.5%, what they didn’t mention was that the majority of that increased spending was based upon councils increasing council tax by up to 5%.

“In the absence of fair funding from Government and the need to continue to invest across a wide range of services important to residents, from refuse collection, highways and social care etc, we have to ask most residents to pay a little bit more next year.”

Cllr Bell was speaking at the budget meeting of the borough council on February 25, which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube.

While some local authorities have chosen to increase council tax by the maximum permitted next year, South Tyneside Council opted for a lower rate.

This was split between a 3% Government levy to fund adult social care pressures and a 0.95% rise in core council tax.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of the council, added it was “one of the lowest rises in the North East region.”

South Tyneside Council will also provide a rebate of up to £150 in council tax for all working age residents in receipt of local council tax support – benefiting around 13,000 households in 2021/22.

Council tax calculations for 2021/22 were included as part of the council’s Medium Term Financial Plan, which sets out around £360million of capital spending over the next five years.

Despite having to make around £8million of revenue savings in 2021/22, the council is continuing to invest in renewable energy schemes, regeneration projects in towns and villages, employment sites, highways, building new council houses and an increase in resources for the borough’s community area forums.

During debate, opposition councillors raised concerns about elements of the wider spending plans, including the demand for the proposed ‘Glassworks’ office complex in a post-pandemic world as more people work from home.

Other concerns raised in the meeting included scrutiny of arms length management organisations and companies partly or fully owned by the council and the council’s levels of debt.

Independent councillor John Robertson, leader of the opposition, noted the impact of Covid-19 on residents and suggested members could “give up” some of their allowances.

As no alternative budgets were proposed,the ruling Labour group’s spending plans for 2021/22 and the council tax increase were eventually approved by a majority vote of 39 in support and four abstentions.

Green Party councillor David Francis and independent councillors John Robertson, Keith Roberts and Glenn Thompson abstained from voting.

Annual council tax rates for 2021/22 in South Tyneside, including precepts for police and fire and rescue services

Band A -£1,281.91

Band B – £1,495.56

Band C – £1,709.21

Band D – £1,922.86

Band E – £2,350.16

Band F – £2,777.46

Band G – £3,204.77

Band H -£3,845.72