Tax Freeze and Climate Change Fund Approved in Budget Plans

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One of the lowest tax rates in the country, a new climate change fund and an increase to Brighter Borough spending have been approved as part of Wigan Council’s budget.

The financial plans for the next 12 months include an extension to the free weekend parking scheme in Wigan and Leigh town centres. Speaking at the authority’s budget setting meeting on Wednesday, council leader Coun David Molyneux also revealed cash will be allocated to the Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet for the first time.

Meanwhile, charges for one-off bulky waste collections have been scrapped in a further boost to residents.

A £250k annual climate change fund will support council initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and create a cleaner, greener environment This is in addition to the projects already underway to help meet the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038 or sooner.

Brighter Borough funding – allocated annually to each elected member to fund community projects in their ward – will be increased by more than £500 to £6k.

Scrapping fees for bulky waste collections is hoped to boost recycling rates across the borough with an extra collection team also being funded.

Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet for the first time will be allocated £10k to support other youth groups and projects across the borough.

The free weekend parking scheme for all council owned car parks in Wigan and Leigh has been extended until March 2021

This year’s budget is the first in a decade that the council is not proposing financial cuts thanks to its prudent financial approach and bold reforms in the face of austerity. Through the Deal – the council’s informal contract with residents – services have been reformed and enhanced while a savings target of £160m has been met.

The freeze in the general element of the council tax bill will be for the seventh year in a row, meaning residents will be paying the lowest rates in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire and one of the lowest in the country.

Like the majority of local authorities, Wigan Council will opt into central government’s social care precept option, which will see a two per cent increase. This will raise £2.3m to help meet the increasing demand facing the adult social care sector.