Council approves tax increase plans

Wyre Council leader Coun Peter Gibson
Wyre Council leader Coun Peter Gibson

A rise in council tax and the passing of controversial changes to public speakers at planning meetings were both passed at Wyre’s full council meeting.

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

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

Councillors also approved plans to limit the number of speakers allowed to speak during planning debates to four per item. The move, which was approved at last Thursday’s full council meeting at Poulton Civic Centre, also set a 12 minute limit on the length of time speakers can address meetings.

The council has defended both decisions, pointing to government cuts as the main reason for the tax increase and said the change in time for speakers would “streamline” planning meetings.

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 expect 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.

Councillor Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, said: “We’ve frozen our portion of council tax for the last five years but government support to freeze 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 adopted a transformation approach to how we operate and made £7m worth of savings. We are also excellent at securing external investment, with 96% of capital spending in the year ahead set to be financed by grants and contributions.”