Council tax rise a step closer after senior South Tyneside councillors approve 'financially stable' budget
Leading councillors in South Tyneside have backed what they say is a “financially stable” budget plans for next year – which is set to include a council tax rise.
Council chiefs said the proposals will help ensure the authority remains “able to invest and look after the most vulnerable”, and comes against the backdrop of £6.6million in required savings.
This is in addition to the £183million the council has already saved since 2010.
To help balance the books, the council is proposing a 2.95% increase in council tax which includes a combination of the Government’s adult social care levy of 1%, ring-fenced for those services, and a 1.95% increase in core council tax.
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The council’s cabinet backed the proposals laid out in the authority’s medium term financial plan for 2022 to 2027 at their meeting on Wednesday (February 2).
Councillor Joanne Bell, lead member for resources and innovation, speaking at the meeting, said the plan has taken into account views from resident consultations, and looks to provide the best for the area.
She said: “Our proposed financial plan strikes the appropriate balance between investment, risk management and long term financial sustainability.
“These future plans will assure that we will remain financially sustainable, able to invest in priorities and look after the most vulnerable.”
She added it has been a “mammoth task”, with the strategy prepared “in the shadow” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cllr Bell continued: “It has been very difficult, we’ve been going through the pandemic, not just last year but the year before as well.
“I do think that we have come up with a budget that will allow us to invest in the areas that we need to, in the areas that our residents have told us they want us to invest in.”
She added it was “disappointing” the Government only provided councils with a one-year financial settlement, making long-term planning more difficult.
Council chiefs noted the budget will involve continued investment in regeneration and jobs, along with increased highways improvement budgets and new litter bins.
Separate precepts for fire and police services have not yet been confirmed as part of the final council tax bills for 2022/23.
However it is estimated the proposed council tax rise would equate to around 64p per week for Band A households, into which the majority of South Tyneside’s homes fall.
The budget will now go before full council to be debated later this month.