Northumberland Labour says the council’s budget plans will do nothing to tackle inequalities in income, housing and employment faced by Northumberland’s 328,000 residents.
Leader Scott Dickinson said: ““The record of this Tory administration and the national Tory government is nothing to write home about.
“Under this administration we’ve seen more people face rising private rents, no homes that are actually affordable built, more people needing to use food banks and claim Universal Credit and even life expectancy falling as people face more hardship.
“What we’re seeing in the county is a more than 4% in rent rises for the majority, 2.25% on council tax and 1.99% on the social care precept making a wholly unacceptable 4.24% on top of the hike in the cost of energy, fuel and food.
“The council is raiding its reserves to prop up this year’s budget which, to us, looks like it’s largely been done by guesswork.
“Levelling down, that’s what this budget is, raiding the reserves built up by good money management of previous administrations. Capital borrowing in the name of Northumbrians will exceed £1 billion.
“All this is set against a background of secrecy and frittering away public money removing officers from their posts and forcing compromise agreements (‘gagging clauses’) to prevent them from speaking out.
“Contrast this to the last Labour administration which opened its doors to share information with the opposition and even undertook a peer review by the Tory-led Local Government Association to ensure its dealings were carried out correctly.
“This budget will make more young people and families have to leave Northumberland and find accommodation in other areas; it’s really not good enough.
“We will be holding the leaders to account and asking them what they propose improve the lives and opportunities of the people who live in this wonderful county.”