Council spending to be slashed despite tax rise

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COUNCILLORS in Wakefield have approved a budget which will see council tax increase and spending slashed by £38m over the next year.

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box told yesterday’s budget meeting that continued central government funding cuts mean local authority services that people currently take for granted will disappear.

Council tax will increase by 1.99 per cent from April 1, an increase of 29p a week for a Band A property.

Coun Box said: “Increasing council tax by 1.99 per cent at least gives us the capacity to protect some of our core services, those which people depend on the most.”

Cuts to front line services agreed include saving £20m from the adult care budget and £5m from services for children and the young. Another £125,000 will be cut from parks an open spaces.

Up to 100 more council jobs are set to go in the next year, on top of the 1,400 predicted in last year’s budget.

Coun Box told the meeting at County Hall: “Local government is fast heading to the point where it will cease to exist in any meaningful way. Services that people now take for granted will disappear.”

Coun Box said that over the last four years, Wakefield Council’s funding from central government has been cut by a total of £81m.

He added: “We’ll make sure that our residents get the best local services we can provide.”