Council tax set to rise by 3.99% in Sunderland - this is how much you would pay
Sunderland households are set to pay an extra 3.99% in council tax after city leaders set out the proposed budget for 2020/2021
The proposed increase, which meets Government guidelines, has been endorsed by senior councillors at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet.
The proposed rise will now be debated and voted on by all councillors at the council’s budget meeting on Wednesday March 4.
If approved, the total bill for each property band for city council services (ie before police and fire service precepts are added) would be:
Band A: £980.06
Band B: £1,143.40
Band C: £1,306.74
Band D: £1,470.09
Band E: £1,796.78
Band F: £2,123.46
Band G: £2,450.15
Band H: £2,940.18
Outlining details at the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Councillor Paul Stewart said the council, which has had its spending powers reduced by a third since 2010, would continue to 'lobby the Government for a true fair funding agreement'.
The increase relates to the City Council's element of the Council Tax. It would be an extra 72p a week for Band A properties, which applies to the majority of Sunderland's properties.
The benchmark Band D bill would increase annually by £56.41 from £1,413.68p to £1,470.09p.
Two per cent of the increase is the adult social care precept that goes towards funding help for the elderly or vulnerable. It would see Band A householders annually contributing £85.63p towards the care precept.
Earlier in February 2020, as part of its revenue budget plans for week to week spending on services, the council said it was ready to reduce the cost of bulky waste collections by more than half from £22.50 to £10 for six items, create a £1million carbon reduction fund, invest more in environmental enforcement, and cut the cost of councillors' allowances by £140,000.
In its capital budget for investment, the council is looking to invest £270million on new projects. These include £59million in affordable housing, £10million for better city IT connectivity, £36million developing an investment property at Farringdon Row, a £9million multi-storey car park at Vaux and £6.8million towards planning and £32million in school facilities.
Speaking at Cabinet, Councillor Stewart said: "The council has done its best to protect residents from the impact of the cuts since 2010.
"However, despite Government’s first real terms increase in funding since 2010, the compound impact of the Government’s significant and disproportionate funding reductions in previous years, combined with unavoidable unfunded cost pressures, means we are once again faced with very difficult decisions.
"Raising council tax is one of those difficult decisions. If we do not raise council tax, we will need to cut services further and reduce our investment into key priority areas.
"That would mean cuts in services to those most vulnerable in our communities and to the services which residents tell us are a high priority.
"Indeed, in its financial settlement, the Government assume that all councils will raise council tax by the maximum permitted level – in our case 3.99 per cent. You will hear the Government say that they are increasing funding for local government – unfortunately over 40 per cent of this increase is to be raised locally through council tax increases.
"We have therefore taken the difficult decision to raise the core council tax element next year by 1.99 per cent.
"It is also proposed that the Government’s Social Care Precept will be increased by two per cent in 2020/2021 to support the demand and cost pressures in adult social care."
Coun Stewart said a majority of consultation respondents – 60% – had backed the budget proposals and details on final precepts are still to be confirmed.
He added: "As we know, the future financial outlook remains very uncertain. There are continued unfunded cost pressures, combined with the significant uncertainty around the impact of the Government’s spending review, fair funding review and the move to 75 per cent retained business rates, all of which are scheduled for 2021/22.
"Based on the best information we have at this time, and after taking into account proposed savings plans and assumed future council tax increases, there remains a budget gap of circa £25million over the three years 2021/22 and 2023/24.
"Work will, of course, continue to identify a further suite of proposals to address the remaining budget gap into future years and we continue to lobby the Government for a true fair funding agreement for local government."
Last year, the council planned to spend £651million in its budget with savings and cost pressures of more than £315million addressed since 2010.