Wirral Council, run by a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition since Labour lost power in May, is freezing Council Tax while investing in extra cash in front-line services
Wirral’s Cabinet has announced plans that will see Council Tax frozen, support for the ‘Big Society’ enhanced and extra cash invested in services such as Sure Start, libraries and supporting employers to create new jobs.
At the same time, the number of senior managers has been cut by a quarter, a reduction in the amount spent on consultants and additional savings identified during the Council’s biggest-ever consultation, ‘Wirral’s Future’.
The freeze in the Borough’s Council Tax also maintains the discount for residents aged over 75, in recognition of the impact the tax has on those with fixed incomes.
Cllr Jeff Green, Leader of the Council, said:
“Over the last 10 months, we have worked hard to reduce the amount of money we spend on the Council’s running costs.
“We have done this while avoiding compulsory redundancies, unlike Labour-run Manchester; and protecting services such as Sure Start, unlike Labour-run Liverpool.
“Through the savings we have implemented, not least the reduction in senior management costs, we are able to protect services that other councils have chosen to cut, while putting extra cash into the services that people have told us are important.”
Cabinet also reaffirmed its commitment to keeping all of Wirral’s libraries open, agreeing further investment in addition to the £1 million already allocated for extra equipment, books and building improvements. Support for the ‘Get into Reading’ project, that helps adults and children to read, has also been protected.
The Council’s Cabinet has once again pledged to support the borough’s businesses by including measures in its proposed budget that will safeguard 925 jobs and secure £16million of additional private sector investment.
Specific support has been allocated to help small and medium-sized businesses to grow and provide the jobs needed to help rebalance the local economy. Also included, were plans to maximise investment in the Wirral Apprentice Programme and ensure that every young person leaving school has access to training or a job.
Cllr Jeff Green added:
“We have listened to what Wirral residents have told us and this year’s budget reflects what is most important to local people.
“Thanks to good financial management, we have identified almost £60 million worth of savings, which has meant that we don’t need to pass the burden onto Wirral residents by imposing a Council Tax increase or cutting really important services that we all depend on.”