(UK) Durham Council raises taxes to deal with SPED costs; 'pressures...are huge'

Feb 7, 2019, Chronicle Live: Council tax is set to go up in Durham - this is how much you will have to pay—Durham County Council also faces making cuts worth £39.5m [$51M US dollars] from its budget Another year of council tax increases will help protect front line services, council bosses have promised. Speaking at Wednesday's cabinet meeting, council leader Simon Henig claimed previous increases to council tax had allowed the county council to hold enough resources spare for such measures. He said: "The council is extremely fortunate that we're able to meet a budget shortfall in children's services with reserves - which some people would have spent several years ago. "If we had listened to that then, we would really now be in a crisis…. Last year, the council asked the Government's permission to 'top slice' from its main education grant to cover a shortfall in high needs funding. This prompted a decision in December to make ends meet with a one-off £4.1m top up from DCC's General Fund Budget Support Reserve. This was later upped to £5.6m. Coun Olwyn Gunn, cabinet member for children and young people's services, said: "The pressures we're facing [in children's services] are huge. "In relation to special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and the high needs budget, this council has shown its commitment by adding to that fund to ensure schools are not placed in an even more difficult positions than they already are."