Wakefield Council seek to hike council tax by two per cent

Coun Peter Box
Coun Peter Box
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COUNCIL tax could be hiked by two per cent and 1,400 more jobs are set to go at Wakefield Council as the local authority seeks to save £61m over the next two years.

Council leader Coun Peter Box today (Tues Feb 4) said front line services will deteriorate as government funding cuts bite.

A budget report on how the council aims to save the £61m in 2014/15 and 2015/16 is set to be discussed by the council’s cabinet committee next Tuesday. (February 11)

Wakefield Council is seeking to increase council tax by two per cent.

Cuts proposed to front line services include saving £20m from the adult care budget and £5m from services for children and young people.

Half of that amount is set to come by axing some children’s centres, along with cuts in youth support and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

And it is proposed to transfer the running of Pugneys water park at Durkar near Sandal to the private sector.

The authority wants to save £8m by changing the way bereavement services are organised and save £383,000 by scrapping its sports development team.

The council has shed 1,000 jobs since 2010/11 and a further 1,400 are set to go over the next two years as more services are contracted out to the private sector,

Coun Box said: “We’ve now reached the stage where it would be wrong to say that we can continue to protect front line services. We will do our best, but we can’t offer any guarantees.

“Next year will see us making significant savings, but mostly buying some time for the major cuts to follow in 2015/16 and beyond.

“I hate to say it, but there is no doubt that service quality will start to suffer. This is the reality we face.”

The council is reviewing how it provides building services, facilities management, property and asset management, building cleaning, school meals and build-related architectural design services.

Council chiefs committed to carrying out a review of the services last October and are inviting tenders for a single partner to provide them.

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