Extra £1.5million could be spent on tackling litter louts and improving bin collections in Sunderland

An extra 1.5million could be spent on tackling litter and improving bin collections in Sunderland if council budget proposals are passed next week.
An extra 1.5million could be spent on tackling litter and improving bin collections in Sunderland if council budget proposals are passed next week.

Plans to make Sunderland a cleaner and greener city could get a £1.5million boost, council bosses have said.

Civic leaders will meet next Wednesday to discuss the local authority's budget for the next financial year.

And key proposals include:

* An extra £1.5million to support environmental services such as cleaning, bin and recycling collections, and prosecuting litter louts and flytippers.

* An extra £4million spent on children's social care and an extra £2.7million in adult social care in Sunderland.

* A one-off £2million investment to support this year's Tall Ships Race in July, which will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors and is predicted to see £35million spent in the city.

A figure for the proposed Council Tax for 2018/2019 will also be tabled at the Cabinet meeting.

Last year it was increased by 4.99%, including a three per cent adult social care precept suggested by the Government which raised £4.2miilion that went towards helping and supporting older and vulnerable people in care homes, and more than 4,000 people who receive care in their own homes.

Councillor Mel Speding, the City Council's Cabinet Secretary, said: "The Government has not given Sunderland any extra money to address the pressures that are being felt in our city's adult and children's social care.

"There is huge uncertainty not just for us here in Sunderland but up and down the country on how local services are going to be funded and maintained in coming years.

"In real terms (after taking account of inflation), the council now has a third less money available to spend on delivering services than it did back in 2010 - this is the reality behind the Government's austerity programme.

"Any household, individual or organisation with a third less money available to it would have had to make very hard and difficult choices, and that’s exactly what the council has had to do in its recent budgets."

News of the proposed extra cash to help with bin collections and crackdown on litter and flytipping comes after the Echo recently launched its Clean Streets campaign calling for everyone in the city to help make city streets smarter.

Coun Speding added: "In making these decisions about how and where scarce and scarcer resources are used, there has inevitably been an impact on our city.

"Nonetheless, residents have told us about their street scene and environmental concerns and therefore the council is looking at an investment of £1.5million to continue more work on making our city greener and cleaner.

"It’s also right and correct that we look after the young and vulnerable in our city, and further investment in care and safeguarding work are proposed."

The proposals come as the council is also continuing a series of cuts and saving programmes that has seen more than £290million of cuts from its budgets since 2010.

Coun Speding added: "Financially it's a bleak outlook. On top of the cuts we’ve had to make since 2010, we have already agreed a further programme of almost £30million cuts for the next three years through to 2020. However with all this pressure on services, the council must make more cuts and review more services in the coming years."