Borough to raise council tax in face of £5.7m in cuts

New home: Wyre Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton
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New home: Wyre Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton view

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A rise in council tax and controversial changes to public speakers at planning meetings were both passed at a meeting of Wyre Council.

After a five-year freeze on the tax, the residents of Wyre will now pay 1.75 per cent more , the equivalent to £3.15 a year on a Band D home.

Over the last six years the council has lost £5.7m in funding which is the equivalent of 63 per cent of its grant back in 2010/11, which was £8.9m.

And Wyre expects to lose almost £2m more in funding from the government by 2020. One of the casualties of the loss of funding is green waste collections and from May, residents who use the service will pay £30 a year for the privilege.

The council defneded the decision, pointing to Government cuts as the main reason for the increase.

Coun Peter Gibson, Wyre Council leader, said: “We’ve frozen our portion of council tax for the last five years but government support to freeze it is no longer on offer, which has resulted in the council reluctantly making a small increase.

“In order to keep the financial impact on residents low, the increase is less than could have been imposed but sufficient for the council to keep providing Wyre’s vital frontline services.

“All council services will be delivered for just 50p per day for a Band D council tax payer, which still represents excellent value for money.

“Our government funding has been halved in recent years but we’ve made £7m of savings.

“Going forward, Wyre is focussed on generating income and investment by making best use of our assets and providing the conditions for business creation and expansion to grow and the local economy.”

The meeting also decided to endorse changes to the number of people allowed to speak at planning meetings.

It will mean a maximum of four people can speak to object or support an application and are given 12 minutes in total to speak.

The council said the change in time for speakers would help to “streamline” planning meetings.

Coun Shaun Turner said 12 minutes was still “a long time to make a robust argument” and unlimited speaking had led to “excessive repetition”.