Wrexham Council budget update
Latest proposals to help tackle budget pressures will be discussed by Wrexham councillors next week – with the council looking to take early decisions because the situation is so serious.
Early this summer, Wrexham Council announced that unless it took action, it would be facing a potential shortfall of £23 million by the end of this financial year, with a further £20 million shortfall on the cards for next year.
On top of this, the council had already been forced to make cuts of over £60m between 2016 and 2020 due to real term reductions in funding.
All in all, this adds up to £103 million – highlighting the huge pressure on council budgets.
Councillors and officers have been working hard to find savings and efficiencies, with a raft of cost-cutting measures already introduced in recent months.
The council has already identified millions of pounds in savings in the current year, and next week (Tuesday, December 12), members of the Executive Board will meet to consider further proposals on how to begin to plug the expected shortfall in 2024-25.
Key points up for discussion include:
- Reducing the use of temporary accommodation for housing needs by utilising 50 HRA (Housing Revenue Account) properties.
- Reviewing assets (land and buildings) owned by the council.
- Deleting unfilled and vacant jobs across the council.
- Stopping the City Centre Warden Service.
- Setting up a Change and Efficiency Programme Board to identify and propose further radical budget measures for 2024-25.
It’s well known that councils across Wales are feeling the pinch from high inflation, pay settlements, demand on services, energy costs, material costs and other pressures.
Financial analysis suggests the authority may need to increase Council Tax by at least 12.5% next year just to ‘stand still’, based on current forecasts.
Every 1% raises an extra £600k – helping to protect social care, housing and other key services.
Further analysis will take place with a decision on Council Tax likely to be taken in February.
Councillor Mark Pritchard, Leader of the Council, said: “The financial situation is incredibly difficult, and no council can afford to sit on its hands.
“We’ve already managed to identify a lot of savings and efficiencies in Wrexham Council, and we’re working tirelessly to protect both staff and customers.
“However, this is the biggest financial challenge we’ve ever faced and unless councils get more money, the sad reality is that jobs and public services will be reduced.”
The Executive Board will meet on Tuesday, December 12.
In a separate report, councillors will also consider proposals to change parking fees in council-run car parks from April next year.