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Councillors unanimously back balanced budget for Wirral

Members of Wirral Council voted unanimously (Monday March 1) to accept the Labour Group budget proposals and agree a balanced and legal budget for the coming year, 2021-22.

The meeting of the full council approved the plans which will see council tax rise by 1.99% plus an additional 3% which is ring-fenced for Adult Social Care only.

The change for a Band D property will mean a council tax rise of £79.06, with the bill increasing from £1,584.21 in 2020-21 to £1,663.27 in 2021-22. The final bill is higher once precepts for other services such as police, fire and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority are added in (see below for total bills across bands A-H).

Following an extensive public consultation on a range of budget savings options councillors agreed to remove a number of proposals. This means the options to stop School Crossing Patrols, close public toilets, introduce three weekly bin collection and close Europa Pools were removed from the budget. Investigations will take place to see if the Fun Pool at Europa can be opened for the six week summer holiday while the main pool will stay open, in line with Public Health advice.

The reviews of council golf courses and the Museums Service have also been removed from the budget, helping secure the future of the Williamson Gallery which will make efficiency savings totalling £90,000 to secure its future, while the reduction in subsidy to the Hive Youth Centre will be to £300, 000 instead of £200,000 for one year only and Birkenhead youth site will be helped to secure additional sponsorship and funding from business.

A number of other options, including further back office savings within the authority were agreed to be implemented by councillors in the budget.

In addition councillors agreed to accept an offer from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in response to the council’s request for exceptional financial support (also known as a capitalisation directive) help deal with the incidental costs and lost income the authority has had as an indirect result of the response to COVID-19.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: “I’m proud we have managed to achieve a balanced and legal budget which focuses on our communities and the facilities and services which they cherish. We did what we do best, asked our communities what they wanted and listened to the results.

“But more than this, we have now put in place a new financial plan which will help ensure the council’s finances are even more resilient in the future so we can be confident of providing the vital frontline services which this year more than ever has shown are so important to the residents and businesses of Wirral.”

 

Total Council Tax for Wirral including precepts for police, fire and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

A

B

C

D

£1,327.50

£1,548.74

£1,769.99

£1,991.24

E

F

G

H

£2,433.74

£2,876.23

£3,318.74

£3,982.48