Council tax bills in Wakefield district look set to go up by the maximum amount due to budget shortfalls

Council tax bills in Wakefield district look set to go up by the maximum 4.99% as the local authority looks to fill a £33m budget shortfall over the next financial year.

A raft of saving measures totalling more than £21m also look set to be agreed when senior councillors set out budget proposals for 2024/25 next week.

Proposed cuts include selling off Castleford Civic Centre and saving £3.5m by not replacing vacant council jobs.

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The plan includes a 2.99% rise in council tax, plus a further 2% increase in the adult social care levy.

Wakefield One, Wakefield Council\'s headquarters building.Wakefield One, Wakefield Council\'s headquarters building.
Wakefield One, Wakefield Council\'s headquarters building.

Almost half of the council’s budget is now spent on adult social care as the authority says more vulnerable residents rely on its services than ever before.

The combined increase would see those in council tax band D pay an extra £81.56 a year, equivalent to £1.57 per week.

For those in band A, the combined increase would be £54.37.

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The authority says council tax bills in Wakefield will remain the second-lowest in West Yorkshire.

The plan also includes spending £5m of reserves to ease pressure on services, a reduction on the £10m of reserves spent last year.

Council leader Denise Jeffery said: “We are not immune from the very significant challenges facing all councils.

“But we’ve managed our finances responsibly in recent years.

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“And we know what needs to be done to continue to be sustainable into the future.”

Cabinet members are also expected to approve a two-year ‘Building a Fairer Future’ plan when they meet on January 16.

The document focuses the council’s limited resources on key priorities up to 2026.

The council faces an excepted £86m shortfall for the five-year period up to 2028.

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Cllr Jeffery added: “Our plan, underpinned by the budget, helps to set out how we are going to meet this challenge responsibly, sustainably and fairly.

“We’re continuing to use the resources we have to make the maximum impact possible.

“We know our communities need us more than ever before – the huge increase in demand for children and adult social care services shows us that.

“We’ll never lose sight of everyone that relies on us.

“We’re committed to putting vulnerable people across Wakefield first. And we’ll carry on supporting our residents and businesses so that we can all live in a place we’re proud of.”

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A report warns that the council faces “considerable uncertainty” beyond March 2025.

Much of the concern has been put down to uncertainty over future government funding and the sustainability of health and social care funding.

Some councils across the country, including Birmingham and Nottingham, have already had to issue Section 114 notices, effectively declaring themselves bankrupt.

Deputy leader Jack Hemingway, said: “This government has presided over 14 years of chronic underfunding of local council services, and that is having an impact on all of our lives every day.

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“Any extra money we are given goes nowhere near covering the cost of inflation and rising demand for our services, particularly in social care.

“This inevitably means more pressure on the council budget and on local taxpayers.

“The government’s funding model makes it clear that councils are expected to increase council tax if services are to survive.

“We know this is yet another financial ask of residents, but it’s one we have to make.”

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A consultation on the 2024/25 budget proposals and can be viewed at

It runs until 28 January.

Once feedback from the consultation has been considered, final budget proposals will be reported to cabinet in February.

Proposals will then be put but to a full council meeting for formal approval on February 28.

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