Wakefield Council’s budget approved - 120 jobs to go and council tax to rise

Peter Box after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall
Peter Box after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

Wakefield Council will cut 120 jobs and raise council tax to save £46m during the next two years after approving its budget on Wednesday.

Council tax will rise by 1.45 per cent this year after the proposals were passed without any opposition at County Hall.

The council plans to save about £6m by changing the way it provides adult social care, children’s services and enforcement.

Wakefield’s Conservative Group had been critical of the council tax rise when it was announced last month, claiming people were already struggling to make ends meet.

But group leader Coun Geoff Walsh told Wednesday’s meeting that he now supported the budget proposals.

He said: “We accept that the council will no longer be able to provide all services because it cannot make sufficient savings by simply trimming. The impact on our residents could certainly have been more severe.”

Coun Walsh said all elements of the budget, such as ambitious plans to save £8m by selling or leasing crematoria, would need “continued scrutiny”.

And he urged the council to make sure people would feel the benefits of paying extra council tax.

He said: “Under the leadership of Coun Box we’ve seen council tax double.

“The performance and reputation of the council is assessed by what we pay in council tax and what we believe we get back in return.”

Council leader Coun Peter Box said freezing council tax for the last two years had cost the council £12m.

He said: “We simply can’t afford to keep doing this. It means more cuts to services in the future if we do.”

Coun Box warned people that cuts would affect direct service provision much harder in the second year of his two year budget.

He said: “Despite government cuts to our budget, we will do everything we can to maintain and protect services for our most vulnerable residents.”

Wakefield Council’s budget

120 jobs to be axed from environmental health, accountancy and other departments

1.45 per cent increase in council tax including levies for flood defences and transport

£8m to be saved by leasing out district’s crematoria

£7.5m to be saved by delaying payments on the new waste private finance initiative (PFI) scheme

£5m to be saved by transforming adult social care, including cutting out expensive care packages and treating more people at home than at hospital

£4m to be generated by attracting new customers to the council’s cleaning and catering services

£750,000 to be saved by changes to the way children’s services are run

£500,000 to be cut from the enforcement budget, which includes CCTV, environmental crime and funding for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)

£300,000 saved already by closing libraries

£300,000 to be saved by changing daycare provision

£200,000 to be saved by cutting residential home placements

£200,000 to be saved by changing respite care provision

£90,000 to be slashed from budgets for events including Christmas lights switchons

£80,000 cut from the Creative Partners art funding scheme