Skip header

Council Spending To Improve The Borough

After consulting with local people about where they want to see money spent, South Tyneside Council has today (Friday 28th February) agreed a budget that will improve services and bring about a transformation of the Borough for future generations.

When drawing up this year's spending plans the Council asked residents what the most important issues were for them. All six areas of the Borough came up with critical issues around the environment around their homes including cleanliness of the streets and landscaped areas, community safety and opportunities for young people.

The Council has focussed on these areas with extra money going into zoned 'Blitz-it' cleaning response teams, taking over maintenance of back lanes, improved street-lighting and a major scheme for young people. In addition substantial funds are going to regeneration of the Borough and job creation.

With a total revenue budget of £183.758 million for 2003/2004, Councillor Paul Waggott, Leader of the Council says: "We have come a long way in a short time and we have made excellent progress in our priority areas of Education, Social Care and Health and Modernisation. We intend that these areas continue to be key priorities but we have added five more priorities: Employment & Enterprise, Inclusion, Community Safety, Environment and Transformation."

He adds: "This new budget will help us to continue to improve services today whilst investing in jobs and regeneration for the future. We are determined to be an excellent Council and we have listened carefully to the views expressed in the consultation with the residents, the budget consultation process and to the Citizens' Panel made up of local people who know our weaknesses and our strengths."

I believe it is vitally important that we invest now in the transformation and future success of the Borough. We need to spend money to deliver our new vision "A better future for South Tyneside's people" and although the increase in Council Tax is more than I would have liked, it is essential to deliver this ambitious and exciting programme of improvement and change."

A massive majority of 82% of those who responded to the recent Citizens' Panel survey on the budget supported the Council's prioritised initiatives. The Council Tax rise of 7.5% was supported by 33% with a further 19% neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

Chief Executive, Irene Lucas, says: "Although the Council Tax has risen, it is less than many other councils. Interestingly Council Tax accounts for only 24% of the Council's annual budget. The majority 75% comes from Central Government and the one per cent balance from reserves.

When drawing up this year's budget we listened to local people and discovered what things they think are important. We then tried to make sure that in this budget money is spent where the people of South Tyneside want it spent - on young people, on the elderly and vulnerable, on tackling unemployment, on community safety, on litter and finally on transforming the Borough to make a difference to people's lives."

Examples of how some of the money will be spent are detailed below:

  • Education: £235,000 for extra information technology in schools.
  • Social Care and Health: £2.8 million for better assessment, intermediate care and support to carers.
  • Employment and Enterprise: £750,000 to promote riverside development and create quality business space.
  • Inclusion: £250,000 boost to bring in additional £1.2 million funding to give young people a better chance to gain employment.
  • Community Safety: £100,000 for improving street lighting.
  • Environment: £300,000 for a rapid response blitz-it anti-litter team in all areas.

Today's Council meeting also approved an average rent increase of £2.09p per week (5.13%) for council houses for 2003/2004 which is in line with national government guidelines on rent increases.

The Council Tax increase means that the majority of households (68.3%) in Band A will pay just over £1 a week (£1.01) Council Tax at £751.86 per year. This rise will not affect almost a third (32%) of Band A householders who receive full Council Tax Benefit.

The Council Tax increase in Band D (5.5% of properties) is equivalent to £1.51 per week or £78.66 per year totalling £1,127.79.

Pres/resources/abpr900ck ends

How would you rate the information on this page?

Share this page