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Council tax rise, job losses - more cuts on the way ?

Wakefield Unison members will be lobbying the council over budget cuts that are to lead to the loss of 1,400 jobs. County Hall, Wakefield

Wakefield Unison members will be lobbying the council over budget cuts that are to lead to the loss of 1,400 jobs. County Hall, Wakefield

Council tax will rise by 1.99 per cent and 1,400 jobs will go after Wakefield Council agreed its budget this week.

The council needs to make £61m of cuts during the next two years and the agreed proposals of how this will be achieved were outlined at a meeting on Wednesday. There will be huge cuts to adult services, children’s services and arts and culture.

A proposal by the Conservative to freeze council tax was rejected by Labour councillors who all voted against it.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield council, said: “By 2018 we anticipate our spending will have reduced by one third.

“No council is able to absorb cuts of this scale without affecting local people and local communities.”

And speaking about the council tax rise he said: “We know that times are tough but I believe it’s a reasonable increase to help us mitigate what’s to come.

“I do not believe that we should take up the government’s offer of a one per cent grant if we freeze the council tax. If we do, it means that we’ll have to find an additional £900,000 worth of cuts next year alone - and there will be an adverse impact on our budget in future years.

“As I’ve said, we can’t do everything.

“In some cases we’ll be doing less and in others services will cease altogether. We’ll have to be clear about our priorities and it means that we’ll have to make further tough decisions. We won’t always be popular.”

Coun Walsh, leader of the Conservative Party, said: “Our amendment would take the load off taxpayers, we should not be adding to their burden at times like these.”

 

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