Council Tax goes up by 5% in Sunderland
A council Tax increase of 4.99 (five per cent) per cent to help support services has been agreed by Sunderland City Council yesterday (Wednesday 7 March).
It includes a two per cent adult social care precept that will raise £1.79m for more than 4,000 older and vulnerable people who receive care packages.
An extra £1.5m, alongside £500,000 invested last year, is also going to support environmental services such as street cleaning, and prosecuting litter bugs and fly-tippers.
The Council Tax raises approximately 14 per cent or £90m of the council’s planned spending of £646m as the majority of the budget comes from Central Government grants.
Since 2010, the council has had its spending power cut by a third under the Government’s austerity programme as more than £290m has been taken out of budgets. The council has also reduced its staffing by more than half to less than 3,000 – a reduction of more than 5,000.
Councillor Harry Trueman, who was confirmed as Leader of the City Council as part of the meeting, said: “The scale of cuts and cost pressures over the last eight years means we cannot fund frontline services to the level we want to.
“We have always tried to protect residents as much as we can, but we continue to face very difficult decisions because of the Government’s year on year cuts to funding.”
“The decision to raise Council Tax is one of those hard choices. Not raising Council Tax would mean cutting services even further – including services to the most vulnerable in our city.”
“That’s why we have taken the very difficult decision to protect services from further cuts by raising Council Tax for only the third time since 2010.”
The budget also sees:
- More than £5m for supporting Children’s Services and an extra £8m (£1.79m from the Council Tax) into adult social care;
- A one-off investment of £2m to support this year’s Tall Ships Event in July;
- An additional £60m of one-off capital investments in highways, plant and equipment, school buildings and other infrastructure.
Cllr Trueman said: “We are investing £147m in the city’s infrastructure next year, with a further £134m planned to be spent in the following three years.
“As a council, we are working with the private sector to encourage development and investment. The council and all our partners continue to invest in the regeneration of the city with major developments planned over the next few years.
“Furthermore, investment in roads and schools infrastructure will support the development of 4,000 new homes in the Sunderland South Growth Area.
“It’s also essential that we continue to invest in our infrastructure and economic regeneration. This is vital if we are to deliver more and better jobs and economic growth and make our city more attractive to residents, businesses and visitors, so that can grow and prosper.”
Sunderland’s Council Tax however does remain the lowest in Tyne and Wear.