Cuts to lollipop patrols and grass cutting are set to be scrapped as an independent mayor and his Labour rivals agree to a series of budget proposals for Middlesbrough, it has been confirmed.

Residents would see a 3.99 per cent council tax rise under the new plans however – more than the two per cent increase on council tax bills previously proposed.

Every council in the UK needs to pass a balanced budget each year.

But with an independent mayor and a council chamber packed with more Labour councillors than members of any other group, passing Middlesbrough Council’s budget could have become a huge problem.

However, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and the leader of Middlesbrough Labour Group, Cllr Matthew Storey, have today announced they had agreed on budget proposals set to be put before the council later this month.

With Labour being the largest group in Middlesbrough Council, the move means it is now much more likely that Mr Preston will be able to have his budget passed on February 26.

In December, Mr Preston took ownership of his initial plans for £4.5m of cuts in his first budget saying he would “stand by” his decisions.

Mr Preston’s plan would have seen a council tax rise, lollipop patrols scrapped at a number of sites, price rises for school dinners, the introduction of green waste charges, fortnightly bin collections and cuts to street sweeping and grass cutting.

He acknowledged that while many of these proposals would have been unpopular, they were necessary to balance the books.

And until now, the outspoken mayor had cultivated a somewhat frosty relationship with Labour along with some opposition from members of the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association.

But now, both Mr Preston and Cllr Storey released a joint statement indicating that proposals for Middlesbrough Council’s 2020-21 budget had been agreed across the political divide.

The proposals will be discussed by the Council’s Executive next Tuesday, ahead of final consideration by full council later this month.

The report sets out a council tax increase of 3.99 per cent alongside plans to achieve savings of more than £6m.

Consultation – including public surveys and meetings, social media engagement and views from partners – generated thousands of responses which were used to inform the process.

The final list of proposals sees cuts to frequency of grass cutting and street cleansing, lollipop patrols and Middlesbrough Environment City removed.

Cleaning services will not be outsourced to the private sector, and charging for green waste collections has also been removed.

A move to fortnightly bin collections is also now on hold to allow for a full review of the waste collection and recycling service.

Mayor Preston said: “I’m really pleased that so many people and politicians of all parties and groups have submitted their ideas and proposals as part of this process.

“It shows that we really do listen, and we will take people’s views on board wherever possible.

“No-one is ever going to get everything they want, but this is genuinely the best way forward for everyone in Middlesbrough.

“What we’ve managed to do is to assimilate everyone’s opinions and come up with a budget that will give most people some of what they want.

“I’m very optimistic that it will have broad approval across the council – of course there will always be a minority that will vote against it because they see their role as to antagonise rather than do something positive.

“I’m particularly grateful to the Labour group for their level-headed and constructive approach.”

Cllr Storey added: “We are pleased that the Mayor has agreed to include our amendments in the budget.

“Labour’s priority in Middlesbrough will always be to protect services for local people in the face of severe cuts to our Council from central government.

“We will continue to lobby hard for a fairer funding settlement for Middlesbrough.

“This budget is fair, balanced and gives local people reassurance that local Labour Councillors will do whatever it takes to deliver the best outcomes for our communities.”

The proposals for Middlesbrough Council’s 2020-21 budget will be considered at a meeting of the Council’s Executive on Tuesday, before ratification by full Council on Wednesday, February 26.