Wakefield councillors will debate budget plans

Peter Box after announcing budget proposals
 
LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall
Peter Box after announcing budget proposals LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

Plans to slash £27m from Wakefield Council’s annual budget will be debated by councillors next month.

The council’s cabinet submitted its 2016/17 budget, which sets out how it plans to make savings, to the full council which will meet on March 2.

Councillors will decide whether to accept, amend or throw out the budget proposal.

Community centres could face closure and hundreds of council staff could lose their jobs under the cost-cutting plans revealed by the council last week. And council leader Coun Peter Box said people will start to notice differences in “almost every service”.

The council has already had to cut £119m from its budget during the past five years, due to “unprecedented” cuts to its government funding.

It faces another four years of making savings and if the cuts continue, it will have lost around 60 per cent of its government funding between 2011 and 2020.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Coun Peter Box, leader of the council, said: “When we try and prepare the budget as a cabinet we are always mindful of the fact that certainly in terms of the capital expenditure we have got, which is about £200m, we have always said we will try to invest in the future so all of us I guess are trying to leave behind something that is a little bit better year on year.

“But it grows increasingly more difficult with the restraints on our day to day spending which is revenue spending.”

The budget includes plans to make savings by cutting 240 staff from the authority’s workforce, closing the tourist information centre and reviewing library and home to school transport services. The council also plans to generate income through a 1.99 per cent council tax rise plus an additional two per cent social care levy.