Round-up as Sunderland City Council approves tax and spending plans for 2021/22
Council tax bills will rise by at least five per cent across Wearside from April.
Sunderland City Council spent more than five hours debating its spending plans for the coming 2021/22 financial year, which include more than £67million for big ticket projects, with more allocated for future years.
City leaders repeatedly insisted the hike to household bills had been forced on them by the government and that the extra cash would be needed to keep vital services running in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“No local authority wants to propose increased taxes at any time – let alone during a global pandemic,” said council leader Graeme Miller told last night’s (Wednesday, March 3) meeting of the full council.
“But the government has left us no choice.
“It’s been a choice between asking those who can to contribute more, or cutting services at a time they’re needed most.”
Other highlights from the meeting included:
:: More than £234million allocated to major projects, including the planned Culture House, Washington F Pit and Northern Spire Park, of which £67.2 million is set to be spent in 2021/22
:: Conservative and Liberal Democrat proposed budget amendments calling for smaller council tax increases, among other changes, were both rejected
:: The Government was slammed for rejecting the North East’s freeport bid
:: Calls to use cash earmarked for cultural venues to rebrand Sunderland an ‘event city’
:: Cross-party calls to ensure enough funding is secured to pay for long term upgrades at Sunderland Railway Station