Sunderland families have reacted with fury to a proposed 5% council tax hike, revealed at a meeting in the city today.
The proposal, which is subject to full council approval, was made at Sunderland City Council's cabinet meeting today - and dozens of readers have taken to the Sunderland Echo Facebook page to share their views.
This is the second year in a row that households have faced an increase of 5% (4.99%) - which is the maximum amount it can go up without triggering a referendum.
Here is how some of you reacted to the news on social media:
Ian Naylor: "Coming to councils across the country, this is the way the Government wants us to pay for social care and now there will be more for policing too after the central Government funding has been cut year on year."
Rachel Bell: "That'll just about bring us into line with Newcastle, South Tyneside etc."
William Armstrong: "It's okay if you have a pay rise of 5% but what about the thousands of us who haven't had a pay rise in five years!"
Frank Stokoe: "I would not mind paying more [for] better services but it gets worse. What do we pay for now, bins every two weeks even then they don't always empty them. Have to phone up and get them to come out next day."
Mick Smith: "If it cleans the streets and back lanes [it's] worth every penny."
Ian Donaldson: "Pay more, get less, hate this country now."
Kenny Potter: "All central government funding is being cut more each year till councils get nothing at all in 2020 and have to be self sufficient. Expect an even bigger rise next year thanks to austerity."
Neil Martin: "The council tax you pay doesn't cover anywhere near what is needed to run the city. Central government takes up the slack and this has been cut to the bone."
Gerard Kirby: "Central government gave all local council the green light to increase council tax rise up to 5% to cover social care so it comes a no surprise they took this opportunity to do so, but there’s only one way to change things at local level if we’re not happy with a Labour-run council next time we have a vote don't vote to re-elect them but that won’t happen in this area as they have a landslide victory each and every time."
Steve King: "Is everyone in Sunderland obsessed with their bins? It makes up 4.5% of the council's spend. Housing, education and social care is where the money goes."
Ann Errington: "If we pay for an increase, is it too much to ask where it is spent?"
Pete Bogg: "The single reason for this rise is the disproportionate austerity councils in the North East have had to suffer."
Speaking at the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Councillor Mel Speding said: "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."
Band A properties win Sunderland would see an increase of 83p a week. For a Band D property the increase would be £1.24 a week.
The final decisions on both the budget and council tax are due at the full council meeting on Wednesday, March 7.