Discussions Ongoing as Wrexham Council Considers Budget, Raises Concerns About Impact on Services
DISCUSSIONS are ongoing regarding increases in council tax and concerns have been raised about the impact on services as Wrexham Council looks to set its budget.
At a meeting of Wrexham Council’s Executive Board on Tuesday (December 12) councillors were warned of the “challenging” times financially as it discussed the budget for 2024/25.
Councillors approved measures to save costs, contributing £1.5m to the budget position in 2024/25, including reducing the use of temporary accommodation for housing needs by utilising 50 HRA (Housing Revenue Account) properties, and reviewing assets (land and buildings) owned by the council.
There are also plans to delete unfilled and vacant jobs across the council and stop the City Centre Warden Service.
The also approved the creation of a change and efficiency board and a review of discretionary service provision, to be informed by service business assessments and progressed through the board, aiming to identify savings of up to 30%.
Cllr Mark Pritchard (Ind), leader of Wrexham council, said there had been “radical” change in public funding to councils across Wales, highlighting that a gap is forecast to be between £340-£490m across the country.
Cllr Pritchard said that it was clear savings have to be made, and that they “haven’t got time to sit and wait”.
He explained that “these are very difficult times” and all councils across Wales are struggling, and he did not become a councillor to “cut services”. He added that it was the “most difficult time” they would face.
During discussions, Cllr Marc Jones (Plaid) said it “is a very bleak scenario” and raised concerns about the impact on services.
Cllr Pritchard said there is an impact, however, there will be further clarification on funding by December 20, and he was hoping there will be some relief.
The discussion also led to Council Tax, where Cllr Pritchard explained that for every 1% increase there is £600,000 which will save services and jobs. He added: “I don’t like increasing the council tax I can assure you.”
Cllr Dana Davies (Lab) asked for further clarification on Council Tax, where Cllr Pritchard explained that the assumption is 6% and those conversations are ongoing, however, to deliver services as they currently are, it would need to be increased by 12.5% (this is also down to financial analysis).
Further analysis will take place with a decision on Council Tax likely to be taken in February.
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