At a meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday 18 January 2023, councillors agreed on the council’s 2023/24 annual budget. Headlines from the meeting were:
- Agreement to increase the council’s element of the council tax by a below-inflation increase of 2%, meaning that its Band D equivalent council tax will go up by a small amount to £125.99 per annum. The council didn’t feel it was appropriate to agree to a larger increase as it is conscious that residents are already facing increases in other essential bills during the cost-of-living crisis.
- The council also agreed on a below-inflation increase for allotment rents of 2%, again recognising the need to keep increases to a minimum whilst at the same time making a contribution to rising maintenance costs, and
- In terms of new expenditure, the council used the newly adopted Seaton Valley Area Plan to guide its thinking and has set up an annual budget of £10,000 to support a newly created Youth Action Fund; additional funding to hold a number of community skateboarding taster sessions and further funding to host a series of drop-in events where older members of the community will be asked for their views on what additional activities they would like to see provided in the Valley.
In agreeing on its 2023/24 budget the council also agreed to continue to provide funding to:
- run a free school holiday activity programme in Seaton Valley in partnership with Northumberland County Council Sports Development Team that includes a free packed lunch for those children who take part.
- support community events in each of its five villages,
- hold Christmas events and provide Christmas lighting in each of the villages, and
- continue its successful neighbourhood partnership arrangements with Northumberland County Council which provides environmental services to the community.
Councillor Susan Dungworth, Chair of the Council, said, “I’m delighted that the council has been able to restrict the increase in its element of the council tax to 2% – an increase significantly below the rate of inflation. I’m further delighted that the council has agreed to provide funding to support the creation of a Youth Action Fund that will fund activities and project ideas that young people come up with.”