Council bosses in South Tyneside have come under fire after giving the green light to a rise in Council Tax.
The decision by the council’s decision making cabinet means an average family in the borough can expected to see their annual bill go up by almost £60 from April.
The 3.95% rise will 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 in England.
“There has been £156million revenue efficiency delivered since 2010 with a further £44million required in the next five years.
“Arguably the austerity measures since 2010 has seen spending and services reduced further than during the Thatcher era.”
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.
Gazette readers were quick to make their feeling clear on our Facebook page.
Alan Hobbs wrote: “If the council had a machine for printing money it would run at a loss.
James Marshall added: “Are they having a laugh? Somebody please tell me what this is for. More unnecessary roundabouts? More unnecessary traffic lights? More over-development of the seafront?”
James Marshall branded the rise ‘a disgrace’ and added: “They also make a fortune from car park charges - paying to park in an empty town centre.”
But Caroline Edwardson said: “It’s so easy to be critical of those trying their best to balance a constantly reducing budget.
“What we need to see is less of that sense of ‘entitlement’ from top to bottom in society, particularly from those who could and should but contribute very little to benefit their community.