Council bosses: 'We need to chop services'

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM Council will have to make at least £7 million of cuts to its services next year.

That is despite receiving a less painful than expected funding settlement from the Welsh Assembly Government.

After months of speculation, all 22 local authorities in Wales found out yesterday exactly how much money they will be getting from the Assembly Government to help pay for their spending plans.

Local Government Minister and Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant announced Wrexham’s share will be £161 million – equivalent to £1,190 for every resident of the borough – plus £6.7 million to support specific capital projects.

There will also be money available for activities ranging from education to refuse disposal.

Although Mr Sargeant said spending on all councils will be “slightly increased” over the next three years, Wrexham Council leader Cllr Aled Roberts said that in Wrexham’s case funding would be down by 1.2 per cent on the current year.

This, he said, would mean council taxpayers still faced a round of cuts to services.

The authority had been expecting to have to cut £10.3 million from its budget.

Although Cllr Roberts said he could not give a definite value, he said cuts would now be about three-quarters of that figure – about £7 million – which he described as “still considerable”.

Cllr Roberts said at this stage he could not be specific about which services or jobs will be affected.

But after the fine detail has been worked out, definite plans will be laid before the council’s executive board at its meeting on December 14.

He said: “The cuts won’t now be as severe as we expected but there will still have to be cuts.

“We have already been able to realise some savings which will hopefully mean we will be able to protect frontline services to a greater extent. Our restructuring plans and reduction of management levels have already led to significant savings.

“We will now look at our levels of bureaucracy without affecting frontline services.”

He also said the council will strive to keep council tax at as low a level as possible,
as it has done in previous years.

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