THE latest council tax rise would see households in Leigh pay up to £140 more per year at a time when costs are going up. 

In a Wigan Council meeting, Councillor for the Atherton Independent Network, Paul James Watson, made it clear to the cabinet that he could not support the 4.99 per cent tax hike proposed to start in April as it is "just too much".

He referenced his opposition due to the cost of living crisis where gas, electricity and food prices are all going up. 

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The Confident Council Scrutiny Committee joined a special budget meeting in Wigan Town Hall where they critiqued the council bosses’ plan to increase base council tax by 2.99 per cent and the Social Care precept by two per cent.

What councillors said residents really wanted to know is how this would impact people within each council band.

Leigh Journal: A Scrutiny Committee critiqued the council's budget plans and tax risesA Scrutiny Committee critiqued the council's budget plans and tax rises (Image: LDRS)

Expected council tax increases per year:

  • Band A: £1,207.20  (up by £46.88) 
  • Band B: £1,408.39 (up by £54.69)
  • Band C: £1,609.60 (up by £62.51)
  • Band D £1,810.81 (up by £70.32)
  • Band E £2,213.20 (up by £85.95)
  • Band F £2,615.60 (up by £101.58)
  • Band G £3,018 (up by £117.20)
  • Band H £3,621.62 (up by £140.64) 

This tax increase does not include the increases for Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s tax increases – which was approved on February 10.

GM Mayor Andy Burnham and the 10 council leaders in the city region have approved a six per cent increase in the parts of the bill which go towards the police and the fire service.

Annual cost of Greater Manchester council tax precepts:

  • Band A: £234.16 (up by £13.33)
  • Band B: £273.19 (up by 15.56)
  • Band C: £312.21 (up by £17.77)
  • Band D: £351.25 (up by £20.00)
  • Band E: £429.29 (up by £24.44)
  • Band F: £507.35 (up by £28.89)
  • Band G: £585.41 (up by £33.33)
  • Band H: £702.50 (up by £40.00)

As Wigan’s highest proportion of properties (46 per cent) fall under the Band A category, the majority of residents in the borough will see an increase of just over £1 a week in total.

The average cost to each household in Wigan per week will be as follows:

  • Band A: £1.16
  • Band B: £1.35
  • Band C: £1.54
  • Band D: £1.74
  • Band E: £2.12
  • Band F: £2.51
  • Band G: £2.89
  • Band H: £3.47

So what do you get for your money?

Leigh Journal: Cllr David Molyneux said that there were no plans to cut council servicesCllr David Molyneux said that there were no plans to cut council services (Image: Wigan Council)

The budget report explained that any decision not to increase the council tax by the full amount would effectively result in the council “foregoing permanent funding” from the government in future grant allocations.

On the positive side, the council boss revealed that there were no immediate plans to cut current services, including the council-run leisure centres.

Also safe for now are the boroughs’ big infrastructure programmes like the £135m galleries redevelopment in Wigan town centre, and its plan to boost apprenticeships and training to create more jobs.

Coun Dave Molyneux, leader of the council, also revealed that free weekend parking for council-run town centre car parks is here to stay.

The budget includes plans for children’s services and schools to help prevent future problems with the service and update the current structure.

This means that the £37.5 million programme to overhaul the council’s children’s services department will continue as Ofsted rated it as ‘requiring improvement’ last year.

For schools, a proposal to reduce admission numbers for schools that have less pupils than they are capable of holding is currently in the works. There is also an additional £10.4 million going towards Adult Social Care as part of the two per cent precept included in the tax hike.

This includes planned investment to support the implementation of real living wage across adult social care services in the Borough.

The new council tax rise will only officially be confirmed when the vote passes at the full council meeting on March 1.