Deputy leader says 'wait and see' on potential rise in council tax in Northumberland

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The deputy leader of Northumberland County Council has remained tight-lipped when questioned on potential council tax rises.

Coun Richard Wearmouth and deputy leader Glen Sanderson are visiting local area councils to deliver a report on the “state of the county” ahead of setting the authority’s budget.

At a meeting of the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council, Ashington Central’s Labour councillor Caroline Ball asked Coun Wearmouth whether council tax would rise, and if so by how much.

Coun Wearmouth responded: “Wait and see.”

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Coun Richard Wearmouth.Coun Richard Wearmouth.
Coun Richard Wearmouth.

He added: “We’re very aware that there is pressure on households and we will do our best to reflect that, bearing in mind that all the inflationary pressures we have got on us as a council too.”

He was also asked by Coun Kath Nisbit why council leader Glen Sanderson had been unable to rule out compulsory redundancies, despite the fact the council’s finances were reportedly in better shape than they had been in the middle of the financial year.

Coun Wearmouth explained: “During this year we were running an overspend that was quite significant. We have managed to get that down and we think that the contingency in the budget we agreed last year will be able to cover it.

“In terms of budget setting this year there’s always a drive to add efficiency. Looking at our council there is, I think it’s fair to say, roles that when you’re looking at at them you think ‘do those roles need to be there?’

“Glen wants any role not in existence to be voluntary redundancy, and that’s laudable. I share that hope, but it’s about making the council fit for purpose.”