A Balanced Budget with Investment for the Future
South Tyneside Council has agreed a balanced budget and announced further investments for the forthcoming financial year.
In his budget speech Cllr Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Innovation and Resources renewed the Council's commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults in the Borough as well as continuing to provide those non statutory services that make the greatest impact on people's lives. He announced that there would be:
- Increased investment in the Council's welfare hardship fund to assist those in crisis
- An extension of Council leisure concessions to those in receipt of a war pension
- Continuation of shopper services that the Borough's elderly residents rely on
- Continuing Summer Clubs for another year - providing activities and a free lunch for children during the school summer holidays
- Continued Council tax exemption for care leavers up to the age of 25.
- Continued funding for local people's priorities through CAF grants totalling £1.4m
- No increase in the price of subsidised school milk
The Council also renewed its intentions for strong, ambitious but affordable capital investment. New projects include:
- Green initiatives to tackle climate change including Viking Energy Network, recycling transfer station at Middlefields and proposed new wind turbine as well as delivery of the Council's emerging climate change strategy
- The development of three new accommodation schemes across the Borough as part of the Council's commitment to helping adults live independently.
- Investment in facilities at Monkton Stadium, building on the Council's proven track record for outstanding leisure facilities and to enhance the offer for athletes in the Borough.
- Additional funding for roads and footpaths
- Funding to reinstate play facilities at Charlie's Park in Jarrow that was the victim of an arson attack in January
The Council also confirmed the continuation of existing transformational schemes like South Shields 365, the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, Holborn Riverside, North Marine Park and the continual upgrade of South Tyneside Homes properties.
Despite its financial pressures, South Tyneside Council is committed to regeneration, economic growth and job creation in the Borough.
Cllr Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation at South Tyneside Council said: "The books are balanced to meet budget demands but pressures in adult and children's social care continue to put the Council's budget under huge pressure. We still need to save £7m this year on top of the £168m we have already saved since 2010.
"However, despite the financial challenges we face I'm pleased to announce significant, targeted investment across the Borough and to confirm that we will continue to deliver the services that the people of South Tyneside rely on. Our capital investments are strong, ambitious but affordable - we continue to be ambitious on behalf of the residents that we represent."
The Council agreed a 3.95% increase in council tax, which is made up of a 1.95% council tax increase and the Government's 2% adult social care levy - this equates to around 79p per week for Band A households, into which the majority of households fall.
LGIU data show that the majority of councils across the country, some 97 per cent, are increasing council tax this year. The bill issued by the Council also includes separate amounts levied by other statutory bodies such as police and fire.