Stockton on Tees Council raises council tax by 3.5%

March 01, 2012 3:14 PM

Referendum dodging Stockton on Tees Borough Council last night voted through a 3.49% council tax increase. If the proposed increase had been just 0.02% higher, this would have triggered a referendum where local residents would have had their say.

Councillors want us to believe they rejected the offer of a government grant (worth the equivalent of a 2.5% increase) because they couldn't balance the books for the next financial year. They want us to believe they needed the extra 0.99% and further efficiency savings couldn't be made despite a predicted surplus for the following year of £3.251 million. The following graph shows the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). You will see that the deficit in 2014/15 would be more than covered from the surplus in 2013/14. If is also worth noting that budget predictions three years down the line are just that. They are based more on guesswork and the position could easily change, so when looking at the projected deficits from 2015/16 onwards, please remember the council basically admits the figures are based on many assumptions.


If they had genuinely wanted to make some efficiency savings, they could have looked at some of the examples we sent them:

  •  Our research into 'unnecessary jobs' in 2010 revealed that Stockton-On-Tees Borough Council employed 2.3 Diversity Officers and 1 Climate Change Officer at a cost of £96,505 in 2009-10.

  • The estimated cost of trade union officials at the council is £45,108. These are staff whose time is paid for by taxpayers while they work for the trade unions. This does not include the cost of other support provided such as office space or the administration of union fees.

  • Council staff were paid 60.1p per mile for using their cars in 2010/11, far higher than the HMRC recommended rate of 40p per mile (increased to 45p from 1 April 2011).



Just three areas where the council could save hundreds of thousands of pounds. Efficiency savings are there. All the council has to do is look for them, but to increase the burden on council taxpayers when they freely admit they expect a surplus the following year is completely unacceptable.

We intend to hold an action day in the borough in the not too distant future. We will be explaining to local people  why the council was wrong to increase council tax, and explain to them the areas where the council could save their cash. If you would like to join is, please drop me a line.Referendum dodging Stockton on Tees Borough Council last night voted through a 3.49% council tax increase. If the proposed increase had been just 0.02% higher, this would have triggered a referendum where local residents would have had their say.

Councillors want us to believe they rejected the offer of a government grant (worth the equivalent of a 2.5% increase) because they couldn't balance the books for the next financial year. They want us to believe they needed the extra 0.99% and further efficiency savings couldn't be made despite a predicted surplus for the following year of £3.251 million. The following graph shows the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). You will see that the deficit in 2014/15 would be more than covered from the surplus in 2013/14. If is also worth noting that budget predictions three years down the line are just that. They are based more on guesswork and the position could easily change, so when looking at the projected deficits from 2015/16 onwards, please remember the council basically admits the figures are based on many assumptions.


If they had genuinely wanted to make some efficiency savings, they could have looked at some of the examples we sent them:

  •  Our research into 'unnecessary jobs' in 2010 revealed that Stockton-On-Tees Borough Council employed 2.3 Diversity Officers and 1 Climate Change Officer at a cost of £96,505 in 2009-10.

  • The estimated cost of trade union officials at the council is £45,108. These are staff whose time is paid for by taxpayers while they work for the trade unions. This does not include the cost of other support provided such as office space or the administration of union fees.

  • Council staff were paid 60.1p per mile for using their cars in 2010/11, far higher than the HMRC recommended rate of 40p per mile (increased to 45p from 1 April 2011).



Just three areas where the council could save hundreds of thousands of pounds. Efficiency savings are there. All the council has to do is look for them, but to increase the burden on council taxpayers when they freely admit they expect a surplus the following year is completely unacceptable.

We intend to hold an action day in the borough in the not too distant future. We will be explaining to local people  why the council was wrong to increase council tax, and explain to them the areas where the council could save their cash. If you would like to join is, please drop me a line.

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