DCSIMG

Tax freeze but warnings of squeeze ahead

New home: Wyre Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton
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New home: Wyre Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton view

Council tax payers in Wyre look likely to be saved from rising bills for the fourth year in a row.

Wyre Council’s budget is proposing to freeze council tax over the next year - and the year after that - despite suffering a cut of £1m in the funding they receive from the Government.

The freeze ensures residents living in a Band D property will pay 49p per day and will remain in place over 2015 and 2016 under the Council Tax Freeze grant, which gives authorities £72,000 to help them stop increasing council tax.

The last year has seen the authority invest £5.4m in revamping its leisure centres, secured £63m to replace Rossall sea defences and £2.4m to restore Fleetwood’s Memorial Park.

Despite the huge sums paid out on revamping leisure and a reduction in funding, the authority has saved almost £7m in effieciency savings in the last eight years; an average of £870,000 per month.

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of the council, said: “All local Governments are facing a difficult situation but we have made a conscious decision to freeze the council tax again for the fourth year in a row.

“We all know this is a difficult situation and we all hear about cost of living issues, so we wouldn’t be helping people by putting up council tax.

“What we do (with council tax) depends on Government funding. They have given us it for 2015 and 2016, so they are committed to doing it but we will have to wait and see what happens.”

Since 2011/12, the Government has cut £3.8m from Wyre Council’s funding.

Philipa Davies, corporate director of resources, added: “It’s very difficult at the moment and if they keep reducing it at the level they have been it will become even more so because there’s only so much we can do in terms of re-structuring.”

 

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