Council tax to increase as services cut in Wrexham

Reporter:

Staff reporter

A COUNCIL tax rise of by 2.75 per cent is to be faced by householders in and around Wrexham.

The figure was revealed as part of Wrexham Council’s revenue budget discussions for 2013-14.

The budget for the financial year starting in April has been slashed by £3.2 million.

The cuts form part of a drive by the local authority to save £30m over the next five years.

Veteran councillor Malcolm King, lead member for finance, presented the proposed budget to council bosses at an executive board meeting at the Guildhall in Wrexham.

He said the council tax rise was less than the three per cent originally proposed when the budget was under consultation.

An average band D property will be set to pay £939 for the year, with £49m expected to be raised in council tax in total. Wrexham Council’s total expenditure is expected to be £229m.

Areas facing cuts include the community wellbeing and development department and corporate and customer services, which both see their budget reduced by 2.7 per cent on last year. The council’s finance department also faces a reduction of 2.2 per cent.

Included are a total of £100,000 planned savings from a review of leisure, library and community centre services, plus £50,000 from a libraries commissioning review.

Across the three departments £262,000 savings are expected to be made in administration and staff or management reviews.

The sum of £38,000 is also expected to be saved switching computer systems.

But, said Cllr King, schools and adult social care budgets had been protected.

The schools budget has risen by 2.7 per cent and includes setting aside resources for increasing pupil sizes.

The adult social care budget had increased by 2.08 per cent.

Labour Cllr King said the budget not only set the financial foundation for next year’s work, but would also years to come, with budgets already under construction for 2014-15 and 2015-16.

He said the process was ongoing, with more cuts to be made in future years.
Councillors accepted the budget proposals with little discussion and the final budget will be approved at full council in February.

l A third year freeze of council tax rises in England does not apply in Wales and council tax levels in North East Wales have gone up each year for a number of years.

The Welsh Government prefers instead to keep money handed to it by the Westminster government for the purpose of freezing council tax levels.

The cash is then used to maintain and improve Welsh public services.

See full story in the Leader

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