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Cuts are the tip of the iceberg for Wrexham

Published date: 08 May 2014 |
Published by: Charlie Croasdale
Read more articles by Charlie Croasdale


 

CLOSURES to community facilities such as Plas Madoc Leisure Centre are ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ according to council chiefs.

The stark warning that closing community centres, libraries and leisure centres was just the start of a ‘painful process’ comes as Wrexham Council outlined the first part of their proposed cuts for 2015-16, with more than £4 million of savings identified.

The cuts include further savings on grass cutting maintenance of £200,000, the closure of Bersham Heritage Centre to save £58,000, the removal of the school library service and a further reduction of £68,000 from the school music service across the county.

In total, local authority managers have stated they are working towards a minimum saving of £8.2 million for the next financial year, as they look to make cutbacks of £45 million over the next five years.

Also included in the report detailing the latest cutbacks is the proposal to put domiciliary care at Plas Yn Rhos care home out to tender, as well as retendering all domiciliary care contracts which currently expire in March 2015. It is hoped these two actions will save the council £650,000.

A number of staff reviews and restructuring of departments look set to take place with lifelong learning, corporate and customer services and adult social care set to be affected.

Members of the council’s executive board, who will decide on whether to approve the report on Tuesday, said difficult decisions would have to be made and things would get ‘much more painful’ for Wrexham in the years to come.

Lead member for communities, partnerships and collaboration, Cllr Hugh Jones, said: “Year on year it is getting harder and it will become more and more difficult to find things to cut.

“We have had to make a number of high profile cuts so far such as community centres, and Plas Madoc, but I’m afraid that is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Lead member for finance, Cllr Malcolm King, said: “These are around £4.5 million worth of savings out of a total figure of £8.5 million we think we will need to find for the next financial year. As I hope people realise, these are unprecedented levels of funding cuts and we are going to have to make deeper cuts as the five year period goes on, in order to find £45 million.

“I am hopeful the total will not be any higher than £8.5 million for next year, but we will know for sure in September, October time.”

Cllr King admitted last year’s process gave the public limited time to give their opinions about the proposed cuts and hoped this year’s timescale would be “a lot better”.

“We have started the process two months earlier this year in order to give the public a warning as early as possible about what is to come. Last year we were criticised for not giving the public more time for consultation so we hope to address that.

“None of us came into politics to have to make huge cuts but our hands our tied.”

Helen Patterson, chief executive said: “We have tried to look at the whole spectrum and there are cuts in this budget from a wide-range of services, not just one area.”

Cllr Mark Pritchard, deputy leader and lead member for housing and planning, said:

“The figure, around £8.2 million, is a minimum figure, which could get worse.

“We do not want to make these cuts but the fact of the matter is we have to make the savings somewhere and the public need to realise it is going to get harder and more painful before it gets better.”

Johnstown councillor David Bithell criticised the report and said the local authority would soon have to “start listening to the people.”

“Already this year we have seen price increases, town centre car park charges going up, Plas Madoc closed, grass cutting reduced and bus subsidies cut,” he said.

“It seems like the staff are going to bear the brunt of the cuts as there are many staff reviews ongoing.

“We hear a lot of talk from Wrexham Council these days on reshaping services when services are being withdrawn.

“We seem to be cutting front line services instead of reshaping at the top and working our way down.”

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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  1. Posted by: RolandCleth at 09:45 on 08 May 2014 Report

    I wonder if those in the Valleys are having to make the same amount of cuts as we are up here in North Wales?

  2. Posted by: maelor casual at 11:22 on 08 May 2014 Report

    Welcome to the REAL World Wrexham Council. For too long you've sat in your Ivory Tower. Explain please the rise in Council Tax but cuts in public services?? Just as long as you all get your pay rise and pensions paid!

  3. Posted by: L wright at 14:22 on 08 May 2014 Report

    I thought you payed your council tax for council services. So does that mean if the council are reducing the services then the council tax should be reduced also

  4. Posted by: Mr.Gobbi at 15:22 on 08 May 2014 Report

    And what about the 'perks' this council made available to councillors and certain staff (obviously not the lower paid) have all these been removed/cut. The answer is no, its do as I say not as I do as the status quo must be maintained.

  5. Posted by: Mr.Gobbi at 17:10 on 08 May 2014 Report

    Just been reading details about the revenue budget for 2015/2016 that gives an indication of further cuts in the region of £1.8 million the report mentions the closure of Bersham Heritage Centre saving £58,000 and the deletion of one post in the departmental management team of Assets & Economic Development saving another £58,000. Yes folks 1 post on a salary of £58,000 how many others are on a salary like this I wonder.

  6. Posted by: touchwood at 20:22 on 08 May 2014 Report

    let me tell the people of Wrexham the Leader of the council councillor Neil Rogers as been on the council for years and at all times is doing his best for the people of Wrexham he like the people can not do any thing there as got to be cuts as the council have no money so have to make the cuts hes doing a very hard job and there are cuts in every council in the uk not just Wrexham

  7. Posted by: Fadro at 06:16 on 09 May 2014 Report

    Yes, many have been on the council for years. The team in charge of the town centre have been there for years. Those running developments have been there for years. Wrexham has been declining for years. Spot the link?

  8. Posted by: a cahill at 09:54 on 09 May 2014 Report

    Ian Lucas MP informs me that he will oppose the cuts at the 2016 general election.....hard job that when its the Labour Party in Cardiff and Wrexham who are imposing this Thatcher like policy of wrecking whole communities

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