Wakefield residents can have their say on council's Budget plan today

Residents across the Wakefield district can now have their say on the council's budget proposals for the next financial year.

By David Spereall
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 6:01 pm

A two week consultation on the Budget, which includes a plan to hike council tax by 1.99 per cent, starts today (Tuesday).

The council says the hike and an additional two per cent social care precept is necessary to help plug a £32m gap in its finances.

They insist it will save them from having to make deeper cutbacks to their services than the £5m worth that's been proposed for the next year.

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The council says the tax rise is necessary to keep services running and that it will remain the lowest across West Yorkshire

The proposals include plans to invest more money into parks, green spaces and town centres as well as maintaining cash for the district's six markets.

The two hours' free parking at all off-road publicly-run car parks is also likely to continue, following what's been considered a successful first year for the scheme.

A number of other big infrastructure projects, including the creation of three new youth hubs, will also be funded.

Ratepayers can take part in the survey by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BGVZK88.

Jack Hemingway, deputy leader of the council.

Asked about the tax rise on an online Q&A session on Tuesday, the council's deputy leader, Jack Hemingway said the increase was mainly because: "The government is still putting the financial burden of funding social care onto councils."

He added: "It's not something we do lightly and we know residents are feeling the squeeze at the moment, but we do have lowest council tax rate in West Yorkshire.

"If we don't do this, we'd have to make some very deep cuts to frontline services.

"We are conscious of the impact it will have.

"There are council tax support schemes for people who are in real poverty and if you're in that situation please do get in touch with us, and we'll make sure you get the help you need."

Following the consultation and any changes made to the proposals, councillors will vote on the Budget in early March.

Local Democracy Reporting Service