We are entering the season when discussion about the Council’s budget for 2022-23 accelerates, ahead of the formal meetings at which it is approved. Central to this process is the agreeing of the rate of Council Tax for the year ahead. Residents can give their views via an online consultation, using the link below:
As we look ahead to life on the other side of the pandemic, and seek to sure up our local economy, we do so knowing that financial pressures are manifesting everywhere. They are felt by households, through the rising cost of living; and by businesses, such as the rising costs of raw materials, increased staff costs and the like. As one of the largest organisations in the area the council feels these same pressures.
The initial estimates for 2022-23 are that the council faces a funding gap of £10.8 million. The illustration above clearly makes the point that the main reason for this, as it has been for several years now, is the way that central government has cut funding to councils. This was a political decision introduced by George Osborne (remember him) when he was Chancellor and David Cameron was Prime Minister. They did not believe that central government should be redistributing money around the country (despite collecting it in taxes). Rather they felt that local areas should be made more independent in respect of their financial affairs. The fact that the country is shot through with serious regional economic inequalities was of no concern to them.
The image of the squeezed drinks cartons shows the impact on North Tyneside’s budget. But it could actually be from pretty much any council in the north of England. The biggest single impact over the last 10 years has been the cutting of something called the Revenue Support Grant (RSG), which used to make up about a third of the council’s income. This has meant two things: (1) cuts throughout the council’s departments (2) a need to raise more from Council Tax and Business rates. Anyone looking for the reason why their Council Tax bill has been going up year on year need look no further than the axing of the RSG.
Once again, please do take the opportunity to have your say via the official Council Tax consultation. When you do this your data will be kept secure and your personal details and responses will not be revealed to either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party. I am aware that the local Conservatives are putting out letters claiming to be a Council Tax consultation. If you value your personal data please do not respond to these.
Finally, here are a couple of links with more information about how North Tyneside’s budget for 2022-23 is shaping up…