South Tyneside cabinet approves Council Tax rises

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Council bosses in South Tyneside have given the green light to a rise in Council Tax.

The decision means an average family in the borough can expected to see their annual bill go up by almost £60 from April.

South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet met this afternoon to agree to recommend spending plans which could see the charge for a band A home increase to £1,189.19.

Coun Ed Malcolm, cabinet member for resources and innovation, said the council’s budget for 2019/20 had been set ‘in a climate of uncertainty and against a backdrop of reducing budgets and rising expectations’.

He added: “South Tyneside has lost 40 per cent of its spending power in the last nine years – double the average English reduction for local authorities.

“There has been £156million revenue efficiency delivered since 2010 with a further £44million required in the next five years.

“The council has managed this without reduction in front line services.”

He added: “Arguably the austerity measures since 2010 has seen spending and services reduced further than during the Thatcher era.”

Following cabinet’s vote to back spending plans for 2019/20, the budget will be passed to full council for formal approval later this month.

The proposals set out a 3.95 per cent increase to council tax as the borough seeks to slash about £12million from its books.

This rise is made up of a 2.95 per cent increase to core council tax and a further one per cent adult social care levy.

For a band A household - the lowest rated of the council tax bands and which make up more than 60 per cent of all properties in South Tyneside - this would leave them paying £1,044.75 to the council, before further add-ons.

These include £54.89 to the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority and £89.55 to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria.

Reductions in government since 2010 mean about two thirds of the council’s funding is now expected to come from council tax and business rates.

Coun Malcolm accused ministers of being ‘in denial’ over the impact of cuts to grants for local authorities.

He said: “Austerity was and remains a political choice that has inflicted huge damage on the communities we represent.

“The council has been faced with the most difficult choices and what we have tried to do is mitigate the impact on the borough and the people we represent.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service