£26,000 cut proposed in Wrexham Council's mayoral budget

Reporter:

Rory Sheehan and Garth ApThomas

THE mayoral budget is set to be slashed by £26,000 as part of Wrexham Council cuts.

The council’s executive board will meet next week as the local authority looks to make another saving of nearly £2 million, with the cost of the mayoral role on the revenue agenda.

Some councillors, however, do not think the cuts to the mayoral budget dig deep enough when compared with some of the other savings being made.

Cllr David A Bithell, leader of Wrexham Independent Group, said: “The reduction of £26,000 does not go far enough as we had proposed a £50,000 reduction in February at full council.

“When other services are being cut, like grass-cutting, buses and Plas Madoc, you need to start at the top and work your way down. This is very small fry.”

Gwersyllt councillor Arfon Jones added: “It’s no doubt come as a result of the recent backlash over the cost of the mayoral role, but it’s too little, too late.”

Also on the agenda for the revenue budget is a review of the community living service, with proposed savings of £250,000, a review of day and work opportunities services proposing savings of £100,000, and a review of short term break facilities to save £444,000.

There is also a view to saving £62,000 by reducing third party funding in prevention and social care.

The council is preparing for a massive budget cut next year estimated to be £8.2m with adult social care one of the areas which could be hardest hit as the authority looks to make widespread savings.

Council leader Neil Rogers has pledged the most vulnerable members of society will be the priority in terms of ensuring services continue to be provided.

Looking to the future, there is little prospect of the situation easing.

It is estimated that over the next five years Wrexham Council is facing a financial budget shortfall of at least £45m. Wrexham Council has already been undergoing largescale savings and Cllr Malcolm King, lead member for policy finance performance and governance, has acknowledged trying to reduce the budget further is going to be extremely tough.

“The further you cut, the harder it gets,” said Cllr King.

At last month’s executive board savings totalling £4,176,000 were agreed for consultation.

Since then, work has continued to find more savings that can be made which includes a further £1.2m.

Cllr King said: “The majority of this relates to adult social care and reviews of the areas are ongoing.

“A further report will come to the board in July which will include additional savings for inclusion in the consultation.

“At this point £5,374,000 has been identified but clearly this is well short of the savings required.”

Cllr Hugh Jones stressed council taxpayers would have the opportunity of getting involved in the discussions for the budget plans.

“All the areas we are talking about are areas that will go out to consultation with the public.

“They will be given the information that will enable them to see the choices we have to make. They will be able to comment on the choices we have to make. It will be meaningful consultation.”

Wrexham Council’s executive board will discuss the proposals when it meets on Tuesday.

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