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Source: City of Sunderland

This comes as the City Council looks to work out its budget for the next financial year which begins in April 2021.

Despite the severe financial challenges of the last decade, the council continues to provide more than 600 services to the city’s 277,000 residents, as well investing in the city’s future through our capital programme.

These services include everything from children’s and adult social care to refuse collection, schools, highways maintenance, registrars and many more.

Council Leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “We continue to work extremely hard to provide the services that residents and businesses tell us are important to them.

“That includes providing more than 600 vital services like looking after the vulnerable, caring for our elderly and collecting our bins.

“It also goes towards keeping our neighbourhoods clean, looking after our roads and streetlights and attracting new businesses to the city so that we can create jobs and opportunities.

“Like many councils we are also dealing with increased demands for adults’ and children’s social care while the cost of these services continues to rise. Then there’s the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to increased financial pressure across council services.

“This is against a background of continued Government austerity which has seen us lose over a third of our spending power due to funding cuts, along with increased demand for services that the government has not funded. 

“The cost of this has been more than £315 million over the last 10 years, which has impacted on the level of services that we can afford.   We have had to cut services in some parts of the council and raise additional income to balance the budget, by improving the use of technology, streamlining services and making sure that we get the best possible value from the services we contract. 

“Despite this challenge, we continue to deliver excellent services to our residents, businesses and visitors.

“So it’s vital that our residents play their part have in helping us agree our budget for this year because that’s the only way we can make sure that we’re allocating the limited amount we have available to the services that matter most to them.”

Out of every £100 the council has to spend, £48 goes to services the council does not have direct control over like funding schools and paying housing benefit.

Only £52 is under the council’s direct control and it is this that it is seeking the help of residents in deciding how to allocate.

Currently this includes:

  • £23 on adult social care;
  • £10 on children’s social care;
  • £5 on highways and transport;
  • £5 on environmental and regulatory services;
  • £3 on planning and development; and
  • £3 on cultural services.

People are also being asked to say whether they would prefer to see their council tax increase by two per cent which would result in an additional £2m for essential services or three per cent which would result in an additional £3m, or more if they were happy.  Final proposed increases will be subject to the rules put in place by Government.

Alongside this are figures showing how much each option would cost per week for each council tax band.

Cllr Miller said: “We really need to hear from residents because their views are vital in helping us shape our city and how we prioritise our budget so we would encourage everyone to take part in our online budget consultation.”

To take part in the budget consultation please visit: https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/letstalkbudget

MIL OSI United Kingdom