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Proposed Council Tax increase in Sunderland

Sunderland City Council reception

3:36pm 10th January 2018

A Council Tax increase of 4.99% (five per cent) is proposed as part of Sunderland City Council's budget for 2018/2019.

It would be an increase of 83p a week for the majority of households in Sunderland who are in a Band A property. For a Band D property it is £1.24 a week.

The proposal was outlined at the City Council's Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday 10 January).

The figure includes a two per cent adult social care precept that has been suggested by the Government. The social care precept is anticipated to raise £1.79m and will be used to help support older and vulnerable people in care homes, and more than 4,000 people who receive care at their own homes.

Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding said:

"It is very disappointing that there is no additional money from the Government to address the pressures facing councils in relation to adult and children’s social care.

"While the Government have acknowledged that there are pressures being faced by councils, they have simply responded by increasing the general council tax referendum limit to be in line with inflation.

"When taken together with the social care levy introduced last year, this means councils can increase council tax by up to 5.99 per cent in 2018/2019.

"Once again the Government has simply passed the burden from central government to the local council tax payer. And of course, this approach disadvantages councils such as ours, with a low council tax base, as we cannot raise as much through council tax as other more affluent councils.

"We recognise that council tax payers within the city are struggling, and at the moment there is no intention to move from our existing plans for the level of council tax in 2018/2019.

"Ultimately the council's Revenue Support grant is being cut by more than 19 per cent or almost £9m. While that is as anticipated in our planning, it is a significant cut in funding when also having to address major pressures in adult and children's social care.

"There is significant uncertainty over the recently announced move to 75 per cent retained business rates and the funding available for Sunderland from 2020. The impact of the Fair Funding review which the government is undertaking will be critical to the future sustainability of our council's services in Sunderland.

"Residents have told us about their concerns in relation to street scene and the need to make the city greener and cleaner, and therefore the report includes proposals for some reinvestment in place based services.

"There remain a number of outstanding uncertainties around the financial position which are yet to be confirmed. Therefore, final budget proposals will be considered at our February Cabinet meeting."

The final decisions on both the budget and Council Tax are at the full council meeting on Wednesday 7 March. 

Subject to that meeting, this would be only the third year the tax has increased in Sunderland since 2010. The tax helps pay for hundreds of services from helping the elderly and vulnerable, to refuse and recycling services.

A 4.99 per cent (five per cent) increase was agreed last year. 

council

Last year council tax raised approximately 14 per cent or £90m of the council's planned budget of £633m. The vast majority of council spending is grants from Central Government grants. 

Since 2010, the council has seen its spending power reduced by a third under the Government austerity programme with £290m taken out of its budgets. 

Budget proposals at the Cabinet meeting included: 

* An extra £1.5m, alongside the £500,000 invested last year, for supporting environmental services such as street cleaning, and prosecuting litter bugs and fly-tippers; 

* £4m extra in children's social care and an extra £2.7m in adult social care are also being considered; 

* A one-off investment of £2m to support this year's Tall Ships Event in July. 

At December's Cabinet meeting, proposals for an additional £60m of investment of one-off capital spending such as on highways, plant and equipment, school buildings and other infrastructure, were agreed as budget proposals. 

Valuation Band

Properties in Base

Current Council Tax

Proposed Annual Increase

Proposed Council Tax

 

Of which Relates to Social Care Precept

             

A

77,820

863.21

43.08

906.29

 

57.74

B

18,002

1,007.08

50.25

1,057.33

 

67.36

C

16,452

1,150.95

57.43

1,208.38

 

76.99

D

8,553

1,294.82

64.61

1,359.43

 

86.61

E

3,155

1,582.56

78.97

1,661.53

 

105.86

F

1,048

1,870.30

93.32

1,963.62

 

125.10

G

624

2,158.03

107.69

2,265.72

 

144.35

H

20

2,589.64

129.22

2,718.86

 

173.22

 

125,674

         

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