Wrexham Council cuts shock

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM is set to be hit by £10 million of council cuts next year.

And the misery might be even worse depending on how badly Wrexham is hit by savings being demanded of the Welsh Assembly Government by the new Westminster coalition.

The dire financial position will be outlined to councillors next Tuesday when members of the county’s executive board consider a report on the latest budget position.

Chief finance and performance officer Mark Owen will advise that savings of £10
million are made on the 2011/12 budget.

The amount is equal to about five per cent of the current year’s budget of £208 million.

This is due to a number of “local pressures” on Wrexham such as the need to spend more cash on additional children going into care as the result of the Baby Peter case and the drying-up of various grants.

However, Mr Owen said it was not yet known what affect the £162 million of savings which must be made by the Assembly government will have on Wrexham.

He said: “The information is due to come in to us over the next few days.”

Council leader Cllr Aled Roberts said: “We are waiting for the Assembly to make its decision.

“Our hope is that the decision is taken on the basis of what’s best for local services rather than the forthcoming Assembly elections.

“It is important an early decision is taken so we can plan for next year’s budget and ensure the impact on frontline services is as minimal as possible.”

The report to the executive board will also reveal how the council finished last year virtually on budget, which should make coping with the choppy financial waters ahead a little easier.

Mr Owen said that early in the year there had been “big concerns” about the impact of issues such as the need to spend more money on vital services, the recession and the arctic winter.

In August it appeared the council would be overspent by as much as £2.3 million.

However, thanks to “careful monitoring” of the spending of all departments and a number of minor cuts, the council actually ended the year underspent by £400,000, which will enable it to replenish the winter maintenance budget emptied over the past two winters.

See full story in the Leader

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