|Wigan’s Council Tax rise kept to 1.25 per cent
Councillors in Wigan Borough last night voted 41 to 22 to support the council’s 2010-11 budget.
Council leader Lord Peter Smith told members: “The council has sound finances and this is a sustainable budget. Wigan Council will continue to offer quality services which external bodies such as the Audit Commission say that we offer effectively to local people.”
There will be a below inflation increase of 1.25 per cent in April. The rise is again one of the lowest in recent years and is significantly below the Greater Manchester average. The total increase paid by tax payers will be 1.9 per cent once the money for police and fire services is included.
The figure will also be slightly more for residents of Haigh and Shevington because of their parish council precepts.
Wigan’s final figure of 1.25 per cent compares with 3.25 for Stockport, 3.39 for Bury and 3.6 per cent for Rochdale Councils. The Greater Manchester Average is £1237 per year, with Wigan coming in at £1172 and Rochdale at £1285.
Dr David Smith, executive director of business support services, said: “The council will minimise the burden to residents keeping next year’s council tax rate pegged at below two per cent. In order to achieve this, council must make savings of £6.9M a year over a three year period."
Most properties in the borough will see an increase of less than £2 a month. A Band D home will see a 50p a week increase in its council tax, whilst a Band A will see a 33p weekly increase.
An above inflation cash settlement from government have helped to keep down the figures. Major restructuring and efficiencies which have seen money diverted to front line services, have also contributed to the final total.
Introducing the budget at a meeting of the Full Council, Cllr Smith said he was delivering on promises made. “We are maintaining our strategy of low council tax rises and ensuring the objectives of the council are met: we are delivering our promises to the people of the borough. We are balancing the needs of services with the impact of the recession.”
Cllr Smith spoke of the progress on the healthier communities with the opening of Leigh Sports Village, improved recycling to avoid landfill penalties and an extra £3.8M to be spent on looked after children. A capital programme of £100.5M will see further progress on waste disposal, more affordable housing and council house building and the continuation of Building Schools for the Future.
Two thirds of Wigan Council’s funding comes from external sources such as government grant and national business rates. The council tax only accounts for one seventh of the council’s spending.