Spending proposals that protect frontline services and continue to drive forward the district’s regeneration have been unveiled by Wyre Forest District Council leaders today.

The proposed budget for 2018-19  builds on important decisions made last year around our key priorities including making efficiency savings, generating additional income to protect services communities value and championing regeneration to create jobs and new homes.

Following a freeze on the district council’s part of bills for the last two years proposals for 2018-19 include a modest increase of 1.94% for Wyre Forest District Council services.  This would mean an average Band D property would see an annual increase of £3.98 – or less than 8 pence per week - on the district council part of the Council Tax bill from £205.36 in 2017 to £209.34 in 2018.

Members of the public will have a chance to comment on the proposals in a budget consultation that will launch on Wednesday 20 December 2017 and run until Thursday 18 January 2018.

Cabinet member for Resources Councillor Nathan Desmond said: “The financial climate remains challenging and we will continue to do our best with what we have.   

“Over the last few years we have successfully reduced the amount of money we spend on running day to day services by changing the way we do things, simplifying processes, cutting out waste and making best use of technology and digital solutions to deliver services to local residents and businesses.

“At the same time we are growing our income and looking for innovative new approaches to work more closely with others to deliver projects and operate services or valued local assets.

"We have frozen Wyre Forest’s share of Council Tax for five years out of the last seven, with the increase in council tax since 2010 remaining well below the rate of inflation across that period. We are proposing to continue with this real terms reduction in Council Tax bills and are recommending that the contribution from local residents should go up by 1.94%, which is well below the current 3% rate of inflation* .”

Wyre Forest District Council Leader Councillor Marcus Hart said: “Our prudent financial management and strategic approach to reducing costs, increasing income and new innovative ways of working, have enabled us to successfully deliver significant benefits for local people and businesses in what continues to be a very challenging financial environment.

“I am particularly proud of our strong track record in localism,  working in partnership with parish and town councils and other local organisations to protect and sustain local services and assets.

“We were recently cited as an excellent example of what can be achieved in this area in a report of the All Party Parliamentary Group for District Councils published in July. I’m delighted that our budget proposals for 2018-19 will allow us to continue to promote Localism in Wyre Forest.

“Our proposals would also see the continuation of the Community Leadership Fund which supports local groups, clubs, charities and good causes that help improve the quality of life for residents in the district.”

Spending proposals for the new financial year will be discussed by Cabinet on Tuesday 19 December. Residents will be able to comment on the proposals by completing an online budget questionnaire on the council’s website from Wednesday 20 December. Paper copies of the survey will also be available in all council buildings and libraries.

The main proposals include:

  • Making extra efficiency savings of £50,000 in 2018-19
  • Increasing the income target by an additional £50,000 in 2018-19
  • Increasing the amount of Council Tax for district council services by a below-inflation 1.94% in 2018-19.
  • Investing £776,000 from the council’s Capital reserves in 2018-19 to fund a new five year ICT strategy, with further investment in the following four years.
  • Funding Wyre Forest’s Community Safety Team at a cost of £30,000 in 2018-19.
  • Investing £50,000 to fund WFDC’s Localism initiative and continue the excellent partnership working with Parish and Town Councils and other local organisations to safeguard local services and facilities.
  • Continuing to provide £33,000 for the Community Leadership Fund which supports local charities and good causes in every ward of the district.
  • Investing £38,000 at Spennells Valley nature reserve.

For full details please see the Cabinet Agenda and report http://www.wyreforest.gov.uk/council/meetings/com60.htm.

The Cabinet meeting will be webcast. It starts at 6pm and can be viewed at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/webcast.

*Rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index which stands at 3.0%.