Wrexham Council agrees to £14m cuts

Published date: 28 February 2014 |
Published by: Garth ApThomas 
Read more articles by Garth ApThomas  Email reporter


WREXHAM Council has agreed to cuts totalling nearly £14 million over the next financial year.

The decision was made at a bad tempered meeting of the local authority at the Guildhall on Wednesday night.

A budget plan which campaigners said would help to keep Plas Madoc Leisure Centre open was rejected.

Instead, the council agreed to pass a budget of £227,333,600 which include cuts that put Plas Madoc at risk.

Wrexham Council says the move means it can cap the council tax rise at three per cent. The decision was made on a recorded vote with 31 councillors in favour, 15 against and four deciding to abstain.

Cllr Malcolm King outlined the measures involved in the revenue budget which was agreed at the meeting. He said although it was unpalatable there was little option because of the tough financial times facing local government.

Cllr King, who leads on policy and finance, said: “In many ways what we are doing is simply not right but this is the hand we have been given.

“I understand people are hurting and feel angry.”

Cllr King warned that even though this year had been extremely difficult, there were even more troubled times ahead.

“I wish next year would be easier but I am sorry to say it will be much, much worse,” he told the meeting, adding the austerity could go on for many more years to come.

The amended budget plan, which could help to save Plas Madoc, was discussed.

Cllr David A Bithell explained the measures to the council.

He highlighted three key issues of reduced council spending which needed to be addressed - grass cutting, bus subsidies and leisure review.

Speaking about grass cutting, Cllr Bithell said: “Wrexham has been regarded as a clean and tidy, a nice place to live.

“Reducing grass cutting from eight cuts to two I think it would be like a jungle; we can’t support that.”

Cllr Bithell said the amended budget would provide an additional £100,000 to grass cutting, £100,000 towards bus subsidies and £400,000 towards leisure review.

However, Cllr King spoke out against the amended budget. He told the meeting: “It is carefully engineered to be eye-catching, but I am sure it does not meet the test we have been trying to apply for many months together.”

Council leader Neil Rogers also attacked the amended budget plans, saying it was as if the proposals had drawn up “on the back of a fag packet”.

Talking about the agreed budget, Cllr Rogers said: “We have a commitment to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Cllr William Baldwin said cheap shots were being made during the meeting which were using “children as bullets”. “I don’t think that is nice. I think it is disgraceful,” he added.

Cllr Alun Jenkins complained about the process which had been used to draw up the budget, saying it was not open enough for the public.

“It is talking behind closed doors. All things being discussed are in the background. I feel very angry about that,” Cllr Jenkins said.

However, Cllr Hugh Jones disputed the claim, saying: “This has been an open process, absolutely engaging with local communities.”

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  1. Posted by: a cahill at 08:31 on 03 March 2014 Report

    The biggest collective hissy fit in Wrexham's history with the ruling Labour Council throwing a strop when the independents proposed an alternative.... they have lost all credibility and in particular Cllr Pritchard whose only reason for voting against it was it was too late...yes the same Cllr who declared his love for democracy during the City Status farce

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