Council Agrees Balanced Budget
South Tyneside Council has agreed a balanced budget.
The Council's agreed Medium-Term Financial Plan includes investment to support the five core ambitions in its 20-year Vision for residents in South Tyneside to be financially secure, healthy and well throughout their lives, connected to jobs, skills, and learning, part of strong communities while targeting support to make things fairer.
Money has been directed at supporting residents through the cost-of-living crisis, opening access to a range of support schemes and continued contributions to the Borough's five established food banks
Following on from the work of the Poverty Commission investment will boost capacity in teams tasked with combatting poverty and improving accessibility to energy support schemes to help private homeowners access funding to make their homes warmer.
The Council will also continue to invest in the borough's capital programme including roads, footpaths, accessible playground equipment, housing stock, environmental and renewable energy schemes, adult and children's social care accommodation and the regeneration of all three towns.
In direct response to residents who said they wanted to live well independently for as long as possible, the council will support more people to live at home, rather than having to enter residential care. New teams dedicated to supporting people with learning disabilities or mental health issues will be strengthened while technology will be better used to support people more effectively. A multi-million-pound extra care accommodation programme will deliver up to 300 new homes, addressing the lack of specialist affordable accommodation options in the borough to help people with differing levels of care and support needs live well and independently.
The Council will increase residential capacity for children who cannot live with their birth families with two new children's homes, one in Jarrow and the other in Hebburn, together with an assessment centre in South Shields
Some of the Borough's over-subscribed schools will get additional provision, including specialist facilities for children with special educational needs.
There will be continued partnership work to bring forward major schemes including the relocation of South Tyneside College into South Shields town centre and further investment in the ongoing development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, leading to the creation of more than 7,000 jobs.
Alongside investment in regeneration and town centre schemes, there will be capital investment in core infrastructure such as the Flags to Flexible programme to improve footways; a car park resurfacing project, as well as securing external funding for road safety initiatives and pothole repairs.
Residents' concerns on the ground will be addressed with improved action on weeds and a team of Community Engagement Officers who will work with residents on issues ranging from waste and recycling to crime prevention, supported by Community responders paid for by external UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
There will also be continued investment in the Borough's Community Area Forums to ensure matters important to local people are supported.
Cllr Joanne Bell, Lead Member for Governance, Finance and Corporate Services at South Tyneside Council said: "Our 20-year vision is for people to live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives and the medium-term financial plan absolutely directs our budget to that goal.
"Its vital that our spending supports the people's priorities. We've engaged with thousands of people to shape the vision and aligned our budget to that feedback.
"The Council's core Central Government funding has reduced by 52% since 2010. Just like everyone else we are experiencing significantly increasing costs due to high inflation and demand.
"We've protected frontline services and targeted investment on things that deliver for the people of South Tyneside."
The Council needs to save £3.7m in 2023/24 bringing the total amount saved to £190m since 2010.
This year, the proposed budget includes an increase in Council Tax of 4.95 per cent. 2 per cent of this increase relates to the Government's adult social care levy, which is ringfenced for those services supporting communities who need it most. The adult social care levy contributes towards the funding gap within Adult Social Care services. Adult and children's social care continue to be the Council's biggest areas of spend and account for over 70 per cent of its discretionary budget.
The council tax increase equates to around £1.11 per week for Band A households, into which the majority of households fall. The bill issued by the Council also includes separate amounts levied by other statutory bodies such as police and fire.
The council has enhanced its welfare support provision and supports 18,400 households through its council tax support scheme. The council has agreed an additional £100 Council Tax rebate for households on low income.