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Council tax set to rise by almost 2.5 per cent
1:08pm Friday 8th March 2013 in News
COUNCIL tax is to rise by almost 2.5 per cent.
Councillors backed the rise - which has been described as unfortunate but essential - during its annual budget meeting on Wednesday.
The council has already made significant cuts to its budget including reducing back office costs by a further £2 million and agreeing a shared IT contract with Bolton Council that will save £1m a year.
Councillors have insisted frontline services and support for vulnerable people will be protected, but say cuts are inevitable and among the savings being considered is a £5m cut from the social care budget.
The council says members of the public will be consulted before any changes are made. Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, says there will be some tough decisions ahead as it tries to find £18.8m savings in 2013/14.
He says: “Despite the Government’s cutbacks, we have been working hard to make sure our frontline services are protected as best we can and this will continue.
“Over the past two years we have reduced our ‘back office’ support services by around 40 per cent and we will continue to look at where we can become more efficient, such as through our new IT contract in partnership with Bolton Council.
“There will be some challenges ahead. For example, we have planned to save around £5m by modernising the way we provide social care, this will mean significant changes for some people, but we aim to do it in a sympathetic and co-operative way.
“I also want us to make sure we take an imaginative approach to making the savings, such as by investing in our road infrastructure we can bring down repair costs.
"We are also reducing to one large ‘super depot’- this will save money and make us more effective at what we do.” In total, council tax bills in Wigan borough will rise by 2.44 per cent, an increase of 43p a week for band A homes, which includes:
- Council service - 0.9 per cent increase
- Transport levy – 1.1 per cent increase
- Police precept – 0.22 per cent increase
- Fire precept – 0.22 per cent increase.
The rise will keep the increase below the Government’s cap and means it will not trigger a referendum.
Do you think it is a fair rise? Have your say below.