Wakefield Council budget revealed: street cleaning and services for vulnerable children to be hit

Wakefield Town Hall

Wakefield Town Hall

Services for vulnerable children and adults plus street cleaning and fly-tipping clear up services will take a hit under cost-cutting budget proposals announced by Wakefield Council.

Residents will also face a council tax hike of nearly five per cent, as the authority contends with making £15.4m worth of cuts during the next financial year.

The council is pledging to keep providing services including waste collection, highways maintenance and social care. But funding for school crossing patrols and leisure centres will be reduced and people will have to pay for permits to park outside their own homes.

A dedicated team which is called out to deal with fly-tipping will be axed and the frequency of street cleaning will also be reduced.

Waste collection workers will only pick up dumped rubbish as they do their rounds.

Council leader Coun Peter Box said: “If those responsible for dropping litter and fly-tipping continue with their actions, the blight they cause on our environment will be far greater than it is now as we can no longer continue to put the same amount of resources into clearing up after them.”

Frontline and essential services to protect the most vulnerable people will also be affected.

Chief executive Joanne Roney said the council, which currently provides residential care for 6,500 elderly people, will look at how it could help people to stay in their own homes instead.

And she said help for children and families will undergo restructuring and £500,000 will be saved through a review of services for children in care.

She urged more people to come forward for fostering and adoption, adding that it “costs a lot of money” to take youngsters into local authority care or place them in children’s homes.

Staffing levels will also be cut with the loss of more than 100 jobs, on top of 1,625 posts already scrapped since 2011.

Ms Roney said: “More than 80 per cent of the workforce are now frontline staff and as we reduce staffing levels, we will have no alternative but to reduce or stop the services they provide.”

The authority is proposing to raise council tax by 1.99 per cent, generating £1.37m, plus a three per cent precept to help address growing demand for social care, generating £3.5m.

Coun Box said: “The government has made it clear they have washed their hands of the national adult social care problem. I maintain the responsibility for proper funding lies with central government, not local residents.”

A cabinet budget meeting will be held at the Westfield Centre, South Elmsall from 10.30am on February 14.