Residents are invited to have their say on North Tyneside Council’s priorities and initial budget proposals for 2020-2021.
The council is looking to drive forward its ambitions for the borough despite the impact of budget reductions over several years and uncertainty around government funding.
At a meeting on Monday night (NOV 25) Cabinet agreed to launch a public consultation seeking people’s views on changes to the Our North Tyneside Plan and on the initial budget proposals for 2020/21.
The Our North Tyneside Plan has been refreshed to reflect two key policy developments. These are the formation of the North of Tyne Combined Authority in 2018 and the declaration of a climate emergency in July this year.
The budget setting is guided by the priorities in the Our North Tyneside Plan 2020-2024, which sets out the council’s ambitions for the next four years.
As part of its commitment to be a listening council, the plan was developed after consulting widely with residents, community groups and businesses to establish their priorities and deliver the best outcomes for the borough.
The council has been able to maintain high standards across all services and kept libraries and leisure centres open, while also continuing to invest in the local environment and businesses through the careful management of resources.
The council continues to operate in a very difficult financial climate and is dealing with multiple spending pressures as a result of the impact of a number of years of reduction in central government funding, increased costs, and growing demand for services - particularly in adult and children’s social care.
Now the authority is drawing up its initial budget proposals in the face of continued uncertainty over future Government funding, made worse by the looming general election, which has pushed back major spending announcements by central government.
Further uncertainty comes from the unknown impact of the Government’s Fair Funding Review and the move to 75% Business Rates Retention and Business Rates Reset which may impact the Council’s budget from April 2021.
The council will base its financial planning on the Government's Spending Round, announced on September 4, which pledged an extra £2.9 billion for local authorities.
This announcement included an assumption by central government that £1.8 billion of the £2.9bn would be raised by local authorities.
This would be made up of a 1.99% council tax rise for general services, and a 2% council tax precept added to help meet the spiralling costs of adult social care, totalling a 3.99% rise.
Based on current assumptions North Tyneside Council needs to save an estimated £41.8m between 2020 and 2024, before any proposals around Council Tax increases or the Adult Social Care Precept are considered.
To help balance the budget, the council is looking at new ways to generate income from commercial activity, rely less on buying external services and look at how cash is invested.
Despite these challenges, the authority is committed to improving services and outcomes for local people and businesses and delivering on its ambitions for North Tyneside. The council works to attract funding and investment from other sources to help finance major infrastructure projects.
The engagement process takes place from November 26 until January 21 2020 and will involve an online survey, opportunities for face-to-face engagement with lead council officers, consultation with the residents’ panel and targeted engagement with businesses and community groups.
No final decisions have been made and the engagement process will seek to gain as many views, ideas and proposals as possible from residents and businesses across North Tyneside.
Please feel free to attend one of our drop-in sessions in the borough:
Saturday 30 November
10am – 12:30pm
North Shields Customer First Centre
Monday 2 December
5:15pm – 7:45pm
White Swan Centre, Killingworth
Thursday 5 December
10am – 12:30pm
Whitley Bay Customer First Centre
Tuesday 17 December
2:30pm – 5pm
Wallsend Customer First Centre