Cabinet (Wirral Council) 8th December 2014 Background Shirley Hudspeth, Surjit Tour, Cllr Phil Davies & Graham Burgess foreground trade union representative Agenda item 4 Council Budget Consultation Findings
Cllr Phil Davies agrees to £2.4 million of cuts for 2015-16 in 10 areas of Wirral Council expenditure
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The Cabinet meeting on 8th December was well attended for the item on the recent “Future Council” budget consultation. £4 million of cuts were consulted on, of which £2.5 million would need to be chosen.
However minutes before that item was decided, Cabinet approved an ten-year extension to Biffa’s contract. This extended the contract from 2017 to 2027, which meant Cabinet then only had to find £2.4 million of cuts. This was because Biffa had offered a £500,000 reduction in 2015-16 in what they charge for services under the contract in return for the ten-year extension and changes to the contract. Yes, before anybody points it out I realise that £2.5 million – £500,000 = £2 million, not £2.4 million. As to what the other £400,000 saved on the Biffa contract will be used towards I’m unsure (maybe it’ll go towards the projected overspend this year)!
So what have the Labour Cabinet decided to cut? For the detail on what each of these budget options refers to you can read this blog post written at the start of the Future Council consultation that details what each budget options means. The West Kirby Marine Lake budget option has changed from transferring it to the private sector to an alternative budget option for it involving better marketing/increased income. These are each of the budget proposals they accepted in full, which as the Cabinet has to refer budget recommendations to Council to decide won’t be implemented yet.
Budget Options accepted in full
Council Tax Over 70s Discount £600,000
Allotments, Bowling and Football £35,000
Parking at Fort Perch Rock £25,000
Commemorations and Memorials £100,000
Litter and Dog Fouling Enforcement £70,000
All Age Disability Service £600,000
West Kirby Marine Lake £25,000
Girtrell Court £385,000
Total: £1.84 million
Budget Options accepted in part
Community Libraries £190,000 (originally £411,000)
Preventative Maintenance £370,000 (originally £570,000)
Grand Total: £2.4 million
Here’s what they chose not to cut in full (I’m leaving out the two options below of community libraries and preventative maintenance where partial savings were agreed as they are already mentioned above):
Budget options not chosen – these savings will not be made in 2015-16
Parking in Countryside Parks £50,000
Public Conveniences £140,000
Cold Calling Zones £80,000
Roadside Grit Bins £55,000
School Crossing Patrols £90,000
Pest Control £65,000
Youth and Play £450,000
+ part of savings from community libraries (£221,000) and
+ part of savings from Preventative Maintenance (£200,000)
Total: £1.351 million
So how does this compare to a prediction I made before this decision was made last night as to what would be cut?
Well I was correct on most of what the Cabinet chose. However I had to make my total reach £2.5 million as that was what was consulted on rather than the £2.4 million decided last night. The majority of the cuts (Over 70s Council Tax discount, Girtrell Court and All Age Disability Service which total about £1.5 million) I was right on.
The rest I was mainly right on with part of the error caused by having to make it total £2.5 million. However it’s still up to Council to debate them before a final decision is made. However with a Labour majority on Wirral Council it looks almost certain that Cllr Phil Davies will get his budget options approved.
Oh and in slightly related news, Cllr Phil Davies also confirmed his intention to not raise Council Tax in 2015-16 too and accept a Council Tax Freeze Grant (which is part of the reason why some of these cuts have to be made). You can answer why you think Cllr Phil Davies, with Cabinet responsibility for the budget who is up for election in May 2015 doesn’t want to put Council Tax up in 2015-16 in the comments if you wish.
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