Middlesbrough council make over £12m worth cuts to services
Over £12million worth of cuts are set to be made to services run by Middlesbrough Council over the next financial year.
On Monday 27 February councillors voted on the authority's budget proposals, with 20 councillors voting in favour of the plans and 18 abstaining from the vote. This included all of the Labour Group.
Under the plans jobs are expected to be cut, library opening hours reduced and the funding for neighbourhood safety slashed.
On top of the cuts to council services in a bid to save money, people in Middlesbrough will see nearly a 4% tax rise.
Independent mayor Andy Preston said: "The budget is clearly extraordinarily tough. A huge amount of work and care has gone in to try and make it as painless as is legally possible."
Mr Preston also spoke about how the spending on children's services, which was rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2020, was "out of control."
It is thought that for for the current financial year (2022/23) nearly £56million will be spent on children's care, despite on £38million being signed out.
Mr Preston added: "Standards have improved, but spending has been categorically out of control. That mismanagement has cost all of us money, that mismanagement has culminated in the tough budget choices."
Conservative deputy mayor Councillor Mieka Smiles, is also the executive member of children's services.
She said saving had to be made and urged people to vote for the budget proposals.
Councillor Chris Hobson leads the Middlesbrough Independent group and though uncomfortable with the budget voted in favour of it.
She had fought to keep council tax down, but was concerned about a possible government intervention and subsequent 5% council tax rise.
Also at the meeting were the Labour party, with the party's mayoral candidate for May Councillor Chris Cooke criticising the budget set, which would "half the road maintenance" and turn lights off.
Mayor Preston responded by stating that the council could no longer justify spending £15million on road services and maintenance which is why it had been reduced to £7.5m.
Other changes set to be rolled out include school meal prices increasing to up to £2.50, the introduction of a £1 charge for the Captain Cook Car Park, and one in every two street lights being switched off between midnight and 6am.