THE leader of Wrexham Council says he will strive to do the ‘best for the people’ and prevent a rise in council tax.
Cllr Neil Rogers said he was not keen on a council tax rise but added it was ‘early days’ in the process.
On Wednesday, the Welsh Government cut Wrexham Council’s funding for 2014-15 by 3.5 per cent which prompted Cllr Malcolm King to admit that up to £13 million of savings would have to be found next year.
Wrexham Council has set out their plans for saving money which includes cuts to leisure services and potential closures of museums, libraries and art galleries.
Speaking yesterday, Cllr Rogers said he hoped the council would not be forced to raise council tax in a bid to make savings.
“Some people are already saying that council tax will have to go up but it is too early to say whether this will be the case”, he said.
“We will be taking the relevant steps to deciding what next year’s council tax will be after a full analysis of the Welsh Government’s announcement of our local government fund for 2014-15.
“As someone who lives in Wrexham, I don’t want to see it go up, and I know we’ll be trying our best for the people over the coming months.”
Cllr Paul Pemberton launched into an attack on ministers in Cardiff and Westminster.
“It is going to have a devastating impact on Wrexham as an area and all the villages.
“Personally I feel that central government and the Assembly have let local authorities down. Someone needs to be held to account for these astonishing cutbacks to public services.
“Wrexham Council are doing their best to manage the situation but it is inevitable that jobs are going to go.
“People I’ve worked with all my life are going to end up out of work.”
Commenting on the Wrexham doleout of £175.1m for 2014-15, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said: “Unfortunately, the Welsh Government can only work with the money they receive from the UK Government.
“Even now, when they are talking of recovery, that recovery is not being seen on the streets of Wrexham. I made that clear during debates in Parliament this week on the cost of living and these figures simply re-enforce that fact.
“It is important that communities across Wrexham work with the council to stand up for their services. Consultation and collaboration will be essential over the next few years.”
Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths defended the role the Welsh Government had played in slashing council funding.
Local government minister at the Senedd, she said: “Over the past three years the Welsh Government has shielded local government from the full force of Westminster cuts to enable local authorities to prepare and transform the delivery of services in expectation of tougher times ahead.
“In that time, the Welsh budget has experienced unprecedented cuts from the UK Government of nearly £1.7 billion.
“Although the settlement is extremely challenging for local government, local authorities across Wales will still receive more than £4.25m and remain considerably better than the equivalent for England.
“Despite the financial challenges I am confident the local authority will succeed and the Welsh Government is committed to working in partnership with local government to manage the challenges ahead and to continue to deliver for people in Wrexham and Wales.”