Councillors approved Wigan Council’s budget last night (Wednesday 6th March) with no increase to general council tax and no further cuts to frontline services.
Wigan is one of just two authorities in England not increasing council tax this year. It will be the sixth year the council has frozen it meaning the only increase to bills in Wigan will be the Greater Manchester precepts.
The authority is also reporting a balanced budget and is on track to meet its total saving of £160m by 2020. Prudent financial planning and bold reforms have helped the council to be ahead of their savings target despite being one of the worst hit local authorities in the country for budget reductions after austerity measures hit in 2010.
Through The Deal – the council’s informal contract with residents which has gained international recognition – the authority has already saved £141.5m through efficiency measures, reforming services and reducing demand.
The council has also announced a raft of measures to boost the local economy including a £10m investment fund for town centres and another year of free weekend parking.
Councillor David Molyneux, leader of the council, said: “We are now in a position where we don’t need to make any further cuts to frontline services, we will have the lowest council tax in Greater Manchester, and we’re investing money in our town centres.
“This is all possible thanks to The Deal. It has radically transformed how we do things and it will help us maintain a secure financial position in the future. We are choosing to freeze council tax for the sixth year despite us being the third worst affected authority by government cuts in 2010.
“We have been able to achieve our savings targets while improving the services we deliver to residents. We could not have achieved what we have done without the tremendous support of our residents who have embraced The Deal.”