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21.02.23 – #Phone Free Campaign, Budget Proposals in NUL

Written by on 21 February 2023

Staffordshire Police are warning motorists to not put their lives at risk by using a mobile phone while driving – after more than 950 drivers were prosecuted in Staffordshire for using a handheld mobile in 2022.

The force’s #PhoneFree campaign has been launched following the latest statistics from the force revealing 959 drivers were prosecuted for using a handheld mobile phone while driving last year – almost half of those prosecuted were driving a commercial vehicle.

The #PhoneFree campaign which will run until Sunday 12 March  is one of four road safety campaigns forming ‘Operation Lightning’, with the aim of the operation to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Staffordshire.

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Budget proposals promising investment in key areas, while keeping a council tax increase to a minimum, have been approved in Newcastle under Lyme.

The Borough Council has agreed its spending plans for 2023/24, resulting in most households only paying up to 8p a week extra for local services.

Investment will continue in Newcastle and Kidsgrove town centres, improving environmental sustainability and easier access to public services.

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “Councils have been affected in the same way as everyone else by inflation and rising heating, fuel and energy costs, so we have worked hard to balance a budget which provides investment for the future and meets residents’ needs now, while keeping costs as low as possible.

“The majority of our households will only be asked for between 5p and 8p a week extra for Borough Council services, while Band H homes will pay 16p a week more…………………….

“In return we will focus on delivering significant investment in our town centres and the services that make a difference to residents’ daily lives, such as recycling, community safety and tackling homelessness.”

Approving a Council Tax increase of 1.99 per cent, the same amount as last year, the Full Council heard that the authority has already cleared a forecast £2.1 million shortfall to balance its budget.

Actions included using grants from Central Government, making savings from the move towards digital provision of services, better housekeeping and an increase from Council Tax and Business Rates as more homes are built and businesses open and expand.

Stephen Sweeney, Deputy Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Cabinet member for Finance, Town Centres and Growth, said: “We understand that many residents are working hard to make ends meet at the moment and we have done all we can this winter to help them.

“We are keeping our costs as low as possible while spending as much as we can on the things that matter to residents, as well as freezing car parking charges and making our town centres attractive to all.”

Band D properties will pay £214.42, an increase of £4.18 on the previous year, or 8p a week.

Council tax may be reduced in certain circumstances, including if people live alone, live with a disability in an adapted home, or an adult resident is severely mentally impaired. Those with a retirement pension, or some savings, may still be eligible for support. More information is at www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/counciltax