Council Tax is set to be frozen for the seventh year running and free parking will continue as Wigan Council meets its ambitious savings target.
At its meeting on Thursday 20th February, Wigan Council’s cabinet approved plans to freeze council tax and extend the popular free weekend parking offer in Wigan and Leigh until March 2021.
For the first time in ten years, Wigan Council will not need to make cuts to its budget, thanks to its approach to prudent financial planning and bold reforms. Since 2010 the council has managed to halve its budget after austerity measures hit.
Like the majority of councils, Wigan will opt into the Government’s Social Care Precept option, which will allow an additional two per cent to be levied. This will raise £2.3m to be used to meet the increasing demand facing adult social care.
Through The Deal – the council’s informal contract with residents – the authority has managed to shrink its budget by 50 per cent through efficiency measures, reforming services and reducing demand.
The council is believed to be one of only a few local authorities to freeze council tax this year as it looks set to be the lowest council tax in Greater Manchester.
The authority has revealed that no further efficiencies to frontline services will need to be made as it meets its £160m savings target.
In the meeting the cabinet heard the money was available for free car parking now the budget has been balanced. This will cost the authority around £280k a year in lost income.
Coun David Molyneux, leader of Wigan Council said: “Following the introduction of free weekend parking in both Wigan and Leigh town centres in September 2018, the council’s car parks have been much busier than usual.
“The initiative has been received positively with business owners and visitors, helping to boost the local economy.
“Providing free parking demonstrates our commitment to businesses and residents and recognises the importance of our town centres on the back of the changing landscape of high streets across the country.
“As part of our Deal 2030 commitment to create vibrant town centres and to support our local businesses, we are proposing to extend free weekend parking into the next financial year.”
The plans will now go to full council on Wednesday 4th March.
Councillor David Molyneux, continued: “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 going to continue our free car parking offer.
“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 seventh year despite us being the third worst affected authority by government cuts in 2010.”