Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tax Increases Key to Council Spending Plan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tax Increases Key to Council Spending Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Hill Reporter

F you live in Newcastle your council tax is going to go up.

IFor years we've heard of councils struggling to balance their budgets and Newcastle City Council is no exception.

Council tax is set to increase by 5% as the authority struggles to keep up with its bills.

The council spends around PS1bn every year but the majority of this is ring-fenced cash for schools and housing.

So what does the council spend its budget on? HIGHWAYS MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS - PS25,945,350 Almost PS26m is spent on roadworks and road maintenance across the city.

Some of the cash for this comes from Government grants but the majority has to come from the council's own budget.

CARING FOR OLDER PEOPLE - PS58,217,300 This is where local councils are feeling the pinch the most.

Cash raised from 2% adult social care precept - which makes up 40% of the overall council tax increase this time around - is ring-fenced to be spent on adult social care.

If the budget proposals are approved the council will introduce a fee for vulnerable adults to help manage their finances.

Three-quarters of adult social care users in Newcastle cannot manage finances or paperwork themselves and although the Government does not insist on providing this service, it does protect adults from financial abuse.

This is just one example of the struggle the council faces with an ageing population.

CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS - PS2,668,250 The council spends more than PS2.6m tackling inequalities for children with special educational needs.

STAFFING - PS253,732,270 The council employs 5,999 members of staff in a wide variety of jobs.

Over the last decade the authority has been forced to shed thousands of jobs.

For the 2018/19 budget, it has said 40 roles must be scrapped, however many of these are already vacant posts. …

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