A Balanced Budget with Priority Investment
South Tyneside Council has presented a balanced budget despite continued financial pressures.
The council will need to save £6.6m in 2022/23 in addition to the £183m it has already saved since 2010.
This year's budget is presented against a backdrop of the Council's five community priorities to; support our young people in need, support families and older or vulnerable people, create the conditions for economic recovery and investment, support town centres, villages, and hospitality and invest in our natural and built environment.
Cllr Joanne Bell, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation at South Tyneside Council said: "Our financial pressures are challenging but manageable. As we emerge from the pandemic we are focused on recovery and renewal.
"Residents have told us that regeneration and jobs are still the highest priority for them and that is why we are continuing our investment in the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), Holborn riverside and major transport schemes that will improve connectivity.
"We know that people's local surroundings are important to them and that is why we have increased our footpaths and highways improvement budget by a quarter of million to £5.25m in 2022/23. We have also invested in new litter bins and our street cleansing budgets have been maintained
"There is increased demand for affordable homes and that is why we continue to invest in our own housing stock. We have also started to build council homes for the first time in over a decade.
"This budget plan for 2022 to 2027 focuses on how we will use our limited resources in the best way to ensure that we focus on the things that matter the most and includes investment in playgrounds on a rolling programme over the next five years, borough wide accommodation schemes for more vulnerable adults, increasing provision for children with special educational needs and continuing to deliver innovative renewable energy schemes in each town.
"The Council has been hugely successful in attracting millions of pounds of external funding for a range of regeneration schemes and is making steady progress on clearing sites for development, with a focus on increasing footfall.
"While we have savings to make, we cannot simply stand still and that is why we are targeting our investment in areas that will make the biggest difference and safeguard our high-quality community facilities for generations to come."
The budget has been calculated incorporating an increase of 2.95% in Council Tax in 2022/23.
This is a combination of the Government's adult social care levy, which is ringfenced for those services, and an increase in council tax. 1% of this increase relates to the adult social care levy.
The council tax increase equates to around 64p per week for Band A households, into which the majority of households fall.
The final bill issued by the Council also includes separate amounts levied by other statutory bodies, namely the Tyne and Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority and the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner for 2022/23. The final precepts have not been confirmed but are expected to be known by the time Council meets on 24 February 2022.
Cllr Bell added: "As a multi-million-pound service led organisation, we are committed to the delivery of high quality, value for money services. We are a very lean organisation in terms of structure and capacity, but we continue to empty millions of bins, maintain thousands of kilometres of roads and footpaths, support thousands of vulnerable adults and children, reduce thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions and engage with hundreds of businesses.
"Our plans are shaped by our continued engagement with the residents of South Tyneside so that resources are allocated to meet community priorities. We also continue to do all we can to leverage any funding opportunities available to us."
Cabinet will consider the Medium-Term Financial Plan at its meeting on Wednesday 2 February before being debated at Borough Council at the end of February 2022.