South Tyneside Proposes Balanced Budget

Posted by: Press Team on 24 January 2024 15:51

South Tyneside Council is to present a balanced budget for 2024 / 25.

Proposals in the borough's medium term financial plan balance the budget despite ongoing increasing cost pressures and savings targets.

Over half of the Council's government funding has been slashed since 2010.

The council needs to save £7m in 2024 / 25 and even more in future years. This is on top of £201m already saved since 2010.

Cllr Joanne Bell, Lead Member for Governance, Finance and Corporate Services at South Tyneside Council said: "To continually deliver this level of savings is becoming increasingly difficult.

"Our services protect those in need and deliver essential services such as beach cleansing, street lighting, bin collections, maintaining the roads and cleaning the streets. But we also provide support to older people, people with disabilities and looked after children in care. The cost of adults and children's social care accounts for 70% of the council's discretionary budget so balancing the budget and protecting essential services is harder than ever before."

As an organisation the council has significantly changed the way it works over the last few years, focused on evidence-based decision making aligned to its ambitions and borough's 20-year vision which was directly influenced by people across South Tyneside.

The council has weighed up pressures like increased demand for services, reduced central government funding, and competing commitments, priorities, and ambitions.

These proposals cover the next two financial years in order reduce risk, help planning and delivery with longer lead-in times.

Proposals are linked to prevention, income generation and ensuring that the council is modern and effective.

In social care, investment in adult social care accommodation and better use of assisted technologies will help support people to live independently at home.

Investment in children's care homes will help expand local provision and reduce very costly out of borough placements.

The council is also investing in supporting lower income families through a revamped council tax reduction scheme.

The council is also looking to make some changes that bring it in line with regional counterparts on areas like home to school transport and car parking.

Elsewhere, school meal prices will be frozen for a fourth year. South Tyneside Council heavily subsidises school meals and provides the cheapest provision in the region.

The council continues to press the case for fair funding from central government as well as the increased pressures in adult and children's social care which account for some 70 per cent of the council's discretionary budget.

This year the council is proposing a council tax increase of 4.95 per cent which is a combination of the government's adult social care levy which is ringfenced for those services and an increase in council tax. This means an increase of £1.16 per week for an average Band A household of which the majority of homes in South Tyneside fall.

The council will still help over 10,000 working age people in South Tyneside who need help with their council tax bills due to their personal circumstances. The updated council tax reduction scheme is now fairer and more transparent making it easier to both understand and administer.

The council is still ambitious and is committed to sustaining its current capital programme including town centre master plans, district energy schemes, the relocation of South Tyneside College and development of Holborn riverside. The majority of capital projects have external funding secured to support them like the £20m Levelling Up funding for South Shields Riverside, £20m for Jarrow as part of the Towns Fund and £20m awarded to South Tyneside as a Levelling Up partnership area. Tactical investment will be used to leverage other external funding streams.

South Tyneside Council's Cabinet will consider the Medium-Term Financial Plan when it meets on Wednesday 31 January. It will be considered by Borough Council on Thursday 22 February 2024.

Last modified: 08 February 2024 13:44