Wyre Council’s budget and council tax for the year ahead were approved at a meeting of Full Council on Thursday 5 March 2020. The council has decided to follow the government’s lead to maximise spending power potential whilst keeping costs low for residents, raising council tax by just £5 a year, or 10p per week on a Band D property.
Councillor David Henderson, Leader of Wyre Council comments: “We are proud to provide our services to the residents of Wyre for 56p per day, based on a Band D property.
“Wyre Council collects Council Tax on behalf of all the authorities that provide services in the area, but our element equates to just under 11% of your total bill. If you live in a Band D property you will pay £204.74 to Wyre Council for the year.
“Over the last ten years we have lost £7m in funding which is the equivalent of over 78% of our grant back in 2010/11, which was £8.9m. We have prepared for this by reducing spending, not increasing the level of borrowing and balancing the books through efficiency savings, income generation and prudent financial management including exploring commercial opportunities.
“We have an excellent track record of delivering efficiency savings which has protected residents from the full impact of reductions in funding. We’ve saved over £6m since 2010/11, that’s an average of £670,000 per year and we predict future savings will take us over the £7m mark.
“We continue to do all of this whilst still providing excellent services for our residents. Last year, four of our parks once again received Green Flag Awards and there were more Seaside Awards for our beaches.
“Communities remain at the heart of everything we do. We have launched the Wyre Community Lottery so that we can work together with community groups in the borough to raise much needed funds. The initiative will also provide a general good causes fund for worthy projects across Wyre.
“We are launching a website which includes a Citizen Access Portal which will allow Wyre residents access to services online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will enable those who sign up, to receive electronic bills, book services, check the status of any payments due to them and report local issues and track their progress.
“We have committed for the seventh year running to protect our most vulnerable residents by limiting the contribution to the localised council tax support scheme for those previously on full benefit to 8.5%, which is significantly lower than neighbouring local authorities.
“Citizens Advice will continue to receive funding from Wyre at the same level to support their free debt advice service, which helps those affected by welfare reforms, and we will continue to deliver a care and repair service which offers free advice and support to both the over 60s and disabled people.
“We are also active partners in the Healthier Fleetwood project, helping to reduce social isolation, raise aspirations and improve the health outcomes for local residents.
“Wyre is extremely successful in securing funding from external sources, which allows us to keep investing in the borough. We have submitted a business case to the Environment Agency for over £30 million in government funding so that we can continue to improve our sea defences with the new beach management scheme, protecting more properties in Cleveleys and Fleetwood.
“The Mount in Fleetwood is currently undergoing extensive restoration thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery and a generous personal donation from Mrs Lofthouse OBE. The scheme includes the revival of the lodge building, as well as the Mount pavilion and the gardens and is expected to be completed by September.
“We’re making great steps towards regenerating Fleetwood and its high street through our Future Fleetwood initiative, which looks to utilise funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, Historic England and the Future High Street fund. £150,000 has already been awarded to develop a strategic regeneration framework for Fleetwood. A final bid will be submitted in April 2020, which will include a request for funding towards a joint £2m feasibility study into a Fylde coast rail/tram link, which would include a Poulton to Fleetwood link.
“As well as being commercially smart, we are fully committed to tackling climate change. That’s why we have established a Climate Change Policy Group to develop and review progress on the delivery of an action plan to alleviate the impact of climate change. We are in the process of employing a Climate Change and Environmental Projects Officer who will work with staff and elected members as we look to deliver climate change actions across all services.
“We have committed to planting 25,000 trees in Wyre over the next five years. We are working with the Woodland Trust to create 10 hectares of new native woodland and hedgerows across Wyre by 2025. We have also addressed our use of single-use plastics and we have started to introduce electric vehicles to our fleet. We are working with providers to install electric vehicle charging facilities across the borough to support the use of greener technology and to improve air quality. All these actions centre on our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2050.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, our volunteers and our communities for their continued support. Together I am certain we can ensure that Wyre remains a healthy and happy place where people want to live, work, invest and visit.”
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