South Tyneside council tax set to rise by 3.95% - this is how much you will pay for each band
Council tax is set to rise again in South Tyneside as town hall chiefs push forward with budget plans for next year.
Figures for 2020/21 are projecting a 3.95% increase, a rise of 79p per week for the majority of households in the borough.
Once further add-ons are included for the fire service and police, a Band A property, which makes up around two thirds of all homes, will need to shell out £1,233.33 annually.
Expected annual council tax bill by property band (including predicted police and fire precepts):
Band A – £1,233.33
Band B – £1,438.89
Band C – £1,644.44
Band D – £1,850
Band E – £2,261.12
Band F – £2,672.22
Band G – £3,083.34
Band H – £3,700.01
The rise comes as South Tyneside Council looks to slash more than £7million from its books with even more savings expected in future years.
Despite having to save £168million over the last decade due to Government grant reductions, no major changes to services are expected in the 2020/21 budget.
However, long-term funding for South Tyneside remains uncertain due to the Government’s ongoing ‘fair funding review’ which will affect how cash is allocated and distributed to local government.
Whatever the outcome, borough leaders have said future funding should be “fair and representative” to help protect council services.
“We’re not asking for special treatment, just fairness,” lead member for resources and innovation, Coun Ed Malcolm, said.
“We’ve worked hard to keep all of our children’s centres open, to invest in our leisure centres, to run the best events programme in the region and protect vital frontline services that our residents rely on.
“We’re doing great things around infrastructure such as housing, transport, regeneration and jobs by being innovative and entrepreneurial.
“We make smart investments that deliver a return, but we are being held back by Government cuts affecting our day to day spending.
“We made difficult decisions early on which has created some financial stability now.
“This has allowed us to protect frontline services as much as we can and invest in facilities for residents as well as creating the conditions to raise prosperity across the borough.
“At the moment, however, austerity continues for councils like us.”
Borough ‘one of country’s most hardest hit’
Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies confirmed South Tyneside has been the third hardest hit council in the country for real-term budget reductions between 2010-2016.
The council has already lost 38% of its workforce which includes 290 managerial posts, equating to £13.1million in savings since 2010.
It has also reduced the number of operational council buildings from 20 to four.
Government cuts mean that South Tyneside Council’s income, some 60%, now comes from council tax bills and business rates which it collects.
And adult social care, representing around 70% of the council’s discretionary budget, also remains a challenge due to the rising demands of an ageing population and people living longer with complex conditions.
Next year’s proposed council tax increase is made up of a 1.95% rise in base council tax with a further 2% added on as an ‘adult social care levy’ to tackle mounting care costs.
Council bosses say it is unlikely the levy will cover the pressures, with the number of over 85s in the borough expected to double in the next 20 years.
‘Crying out for certainty’
Looking forward, South Tyneside Council aims to explore further efficiencies while protecting services, including energy-saving schemes.
Coun Malcolm added more resources are needed for local government to “repair the damage that that has been done to the public realm” under austerity.
“The whole of local government is crying out for the comprehensive spending review and fair funding review,” he said.
“Local government is crying out for certainty.
“Because of the good financial management this council has done over the last decade, we’re still sustainable.
“However, the question mark is how long that can go on?”
South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet is due to consider the budget plans on Wednesday, February 5.
The ‘Medium Term Financial Plan’ also covers the council’s capital programme which stands at £336million over the next five years.
Major projects include the Holburn riverside redevelopment, South Shields 365 scheme and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, near Nissan.
A final decision on 2020/21 budget is expected at full council on Thursday, February 27.
If approved, the council tax increase will come into force in April.