Tyne & Wear

Newcastle City Council plans 4.95% tax hike to save £13m

Newcastle Civic Centre
Image caption Newcastle City Council said most of the planned job cuts would result from not filling vacancies

Newcastle City Council wants to hike council tax by 4.95% and axe about 40 jobs next year, it has revealed.

The moves are part of plans to save £13.3m, which the Labour-run authority has blamed on further government cuts.

The council said 3% of the tax rise would go to towards the funding of social care.

Leader Nick Forbes said proposed cuts would be "tough" but added there were also plans to build more affordable homes and units for the elderly.

The council said in the 10 years to 2020, it expected to have made savings of £282m.

Mr Forbes, said: "The future will be tough, but we have a plan, and ambitions to unlock new investment through devolution which will keep the city in a strong position.

"For the last seven years we have suffered some of the highest cuts in the country, and sadly next year will be no different."

Union talks

The council tax increase will add £74.55 a year to an annual Band D bill of £1,682 and £49.70 for a Band A property bill of £1,121.

Proposed savings include:

  • £2.6m by reviewing adult social care
  • £150,000 by reducing contributions to Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums
  • Increasing garden waste charges from £1 to £2 per collection

The council said about 40 full-time jobs would go next year, mainly as a result of not filling vacancies. Talks with unions are under way to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Mr Forbes said the authority still planned to invest about £380m on:

  • 1,000 affordable new homes
  • 150 specialist homes for older people and those with disabilities and complex needs
  • A new centre for people with autism
  • Hosting major events such as the Great Exhibition of the North.

He added: "Our transformation of services and good financial stewardship have helped minimise the impact of government cuts.

"But they are such that the decisions we have to make will still be very painful."

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "Newcastle City Council has £1.2bn available to spend on services for people between 2015/16 and 2019/20.

"On top of this, they have reserves of £105.6m, according to the latest available figures."

People have until 7 January to comment on the proposals.

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