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Sunderland council tax could rise by almost four per cent as bosses warn of further £50million possible cuts

Sunderland Civic Centre
Sunderland Civic Centre

Council tax in Sunderland could rise by just under four per cent next year.

Plans for what could become part of next year's Sunderland City Council budget will be considered next week.

Coun Paul Stewart

Coun Paul Stewart

The council's Cabinet meeting on Wednesday October 17, is examining a major report on its Budget Planning Framework for 2019/2020.

The report says the council is looking at a possible 3.99 per cent increase in bills for next year, in line with Government limits on Council Tax and Social Care Levy increases.

It also warns council bosses may have to cut another £50million from budgets over the next three years.

Updates on the council's current revenue and capital budgets will also be considered at the Cabinet meeting.

Next week's meeting will also hear about plans to build a new civic centre on the Vaux site and sell the current one for housing.

City council Cabinet Secretary Coun Paul Stewart said: "The council has had its funding cut by more than a third by Liberal Democrat and Tory governments since 2010.

"More than £290million has had to be saved from our budgets because of their totally unjustified austerity programmes.

"Nonetheless, and despite all the pressures of austerity and financial uncertainty, the council is duty bound to set a balanced budget for next year.

"The robust and prudent approach to our budget and spending is all set out in the report."

A final decision on the Council Tax, which raises 15 per cent of the council's budget, will be made in March.

In the revenue report, Cabinet is considering a decision to release £3million to support work at Together for Children (TfC), which delivers children’s services on behalf of the council and provides vital support to vulnerable children and families.

The funding was agreed earlier this year and the report outlines how TfC is still facing considerable cost pressures because of increasing numbers of looked after children.

A series of reviews to address the cost and service pressures is underway.

Coun Stewart added: "As a council, and along with many other local authorities, we are continuing to face considerable pressures on our budgets, especially with the growing numbers of looked after children.

"Working with the Local Government Association (LGA) and colleagues up and down the country, this council is continuing to lobby the Government for a fairer and more equitable share of resources."

As part of the budget setting process, there will be public and stakeholder consultation. Subject to the Cabinet meeting, more details on the consultation will be confirmed in coming weeks.

The council's planned spend for 2018/2019 was £646million on public services for the city's 277,962 residents.

The Cabinet meets from 2pm in Committee Room One at Sunderland Civic Centre.