Budget ‘protects most vulnerable’

Cllr Mark Crowther
Cllr Mark Crowther

The city’s most vulnerable people have been put first in the following year’s budget, council bosses have said.

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box said “difficult” decisions had been made, but that the focus was on protecting the people who needed most help.

Family services costs continue to rise for the council, particularly in child protection where 44 new children have been taken into care since April 2011.

Coun Box said: “There is an increasing demand for family services. You can budget, but you don’t know the number of people you might have to deal with.

“We have kept cuts to services to an absolute minimum, protecting services for vulnerable people and those most in need.”

The council will make a saving of £1.25m on the reorganisation of Adults and Children’s services – but it will also invest £250,000 to work with ‘troubled families’.

Wakefield’s Conservative group leader Coun Mark Crowther said he did not wish to challenge the budget report, which will go before a meeting of full council on March 1.

Coun Crowther said: “Broadly, we would be supportive of the council’s budget given the circumstances the council faces. Clearly a lot of work has gone into it.

“We are not going to be irresponsible to propose alternative spending cuts and measures.

“We would welcome the council’s decision to accept the council tax freeze grant for another year. Annual residual income in their pockets is welcome.”