UPDATED: Wirral looks set for 2% council tax increase after Government split over capping

Wirral looks set for 2% council tax increase after Government split over capping

Wirral looks set for 2% council tax increase after Government split over capping

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Editor

WIRRAL householders should know today if they will be facing an increase in council tax bills.

Last night it was revealed town halls will be able to hike the tax by up to 2% without holding a referendum.

The move came after Liberal Democrats blocked calls by their Tory coalition partners for a tougher limit.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is understood to have vetoed a 1.5% cap for this year over fears that it could hit "vital" services.

The threshold is due to be confirmed by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles in a written statement to MPs today.

The coalition has tried to keep council tax down in two main ways - by offering financial top-ups to authorities who pledge freezes, and by insisting local referendums are held on increases above 2%.

Wirral Council must set its spending plans by a legally-binding deadline of March 10 – a draft budget already has been published which assumes a 2% tax increase for the borough.

But council leader Phil Davies said: “Until we’re officially told where the capping level has been set, it’s impossible to finalise these decisions

“The Government is leaving it desperately late to let local authorities know.

“We refused the (£1.3m) tax freeze top up grant last year as we were not allowed to include it in the base budget.

“That meant the following year we’d have to make even more cuts to replace it.

“Along with other Merseyside council leaders, I have been lobbying the Government to see the grant is built into the budget.

“If it is, and depending on a few other factors, we would obviously consider accepting it.”

A report to next week’s budget cabinet meeting paints a bleak picture for the future of local public services.

It reveals a funding gap of £83m which will have to be filled either by increasing revenues or cost-cutting over the next three years.

However, the report shows Wirral currently has £64m in the bank held in “reserves" and Mr Pickles has been urging councils to release this cash to pay for services.

“Frankly, that is reckless to say the least. We need those reserves to cover a multitude of things, not least insurance,” added Cllr Davies.

“What would happen if, for instance, somebody slipped over on a pavement, put in a claim, and we had no insurance to cover it?

“Believe me, I have been asking our director of finance to make sure every single pound that can be released from reserves is released and put into the budget.”

Conservative group leader Cllr Jeff Green said the administration should serve notice it intends to call-in around £35m of loans it has made to other local authorities across the Northwest.

He said: "Every penny of those loans has come from taxpayers to provide services for Wirral people. Householders have no choice at all in whether they pay their taxes, but this is not what they pay them for.

"It is absolutely incumbent on the administration to scrutinise every penny and ensure it is being used for helping local people, not splashed out at preferential rates to other councils."

Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly said: “Cllr Davies is not correct when he claims he has asked the finance director to make sure every single pound that can be released from reserves is released.

“Cabinet papers issued for next week's budget meeting reveal money released from reserves - because they are no longer required - has been diverted away from supporting the council budget and put into a new account to be called ‘The Remodelling Reserve.’

“This is sheer madness; the only budget growing at Wirral Council is the amount squirreled away into reserves.

“Some of this could be used to freeze council tax, switch street lights back on and remove the threat of taking away school crossing patrols from busy roads.”

 

 

Comments (20)

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11:37am Wed 5 Feb 14

Cheesy Peas says...

And what would happen, for instance, if someone in the town hall on a handsome £80k+ salary suffered "hurt feelings" and was handed £48,000 of council tax payers' money apparently as balm, but the council tax payers themselves, facing this 2% increase, were deemed not to be told why their money was being used in that way?
And what would happen, for instance, if someone in the town hall on a handsome £80k+ salary suffered "hurt feelings" and was handed £48,000 of council tax payers' money apparently as balm, but the council tax payers themselves, facing this 2% increase, were deemed not to be told why their money was being used in that way? Cheesy Peas
  • Score: 18

12:08pm Wed 5 Feb 14

PaulCa says...

UGG!!
UGG!! PaulCa
  • Score: 7

12:22pm Wed 5 Feb 14

woodcutter 56 says...

If you use the reserves where would all thr money fpr the golden handshakes come from maybe they wouldn't be as high heavens forbid
If you use the reserves where would all thr money fpr the golden handshakes come from maybe they wouldn't be as high heavens forbid woodcutter 56
  • Score: 10

12:31pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Thepleb says...

Wouldnt the interest on that 64 million banked cover the proposed 2% rise?.. and maybe throw a few quid out of it Lyndales way, all councils need reserves but 64 Million plus 35 million borrowed too neighboring councils not a bad nest egg to be sitting on and they are crying poverty.
Wouldnt the interest on that 64 million banked cover the proposed 2% rise?.. and maybe throw a few quid out of it Lyndales way, all councils need reserves but 64 Million plus 35 million borrowed too neighboring councils not a bad nest egg to be sitting on and they are crying poverty. Thepleb
  • Score: 10

12:32pm Wed 5 Feb 14

bigfoot says...

2% increase 50% reduction in services!
2% increase 50% reduction in services! bigfoot
  • Score: 12

12:42pm Wed 5 Feb 14

JohnON says...

bigfoot wrote:
2% increase 50% reduction in services!
Don't forget the service which we'll have to pay for which was previously included in the council tax. Like, for example, an additional levy for the police force.
[quote][p][bold]bigfoot[/bold] wrote: 2% increase 50% reduction in services![/p][/quote]Don't forget the service which we'll have to pay for which was previously included in the council tax. Like, for example, an additional levy for the police force. JohnON
  • Score: 11

1:02pm Wed 5 Feb 14

edfin1 says...

What!!!! Do they want a new stair case again or more ipads.
What!!!! Do they want a new stair case again or more ipads. edfin1
  • Score: 15

1:12pm Wed 5 Feb 14

rover600 says...

Never in my life have i come across an organsiation that is so hell bent on getting its elected officials kicked out of office!
Most of the public can relate to cutbacks whether we like them or not but to suffer cutbacks and have to pay more for a failing service when that organisation itself and its officials/cronies waste our money as a result of their own actions and behaviour is reprehesible. Roll on the next set of local elections.
This shower are fortunate that this isn't a PLC where they could be fired for gross incompetence and misconduct.
Never in my life have i come across an organsiation that is so hell bent on getting its elected officials kicked out of office! Most of the public can relate to cutbacks whether we like them or not but to suffer cutbacks and have to pay more for a failing service when that organisation itself and its officials/cronies waste our money as a result of their own actions and behaviour is reprehesible. Roll on the next set of local elections. This shower are fortunate that this isn't a PLC where they could be fired for gross incompetence and misconduct. rover600
  • Score: 18

1:44pm Wed 5 Feb 14

JimmyMercury says...

All I see is cut cut cut. Special needs schools and centres closing. Street lights out, potholes and litter in our roads. You don't have housing stock anymore. You have cut essential staff to the bone. You are not responsible for water, ferries or buses any more. Where exactly is the cash going?
All I see is cut cut cut. Special needs schools and centres closing. Street lights out, potholes and litter in our roads. You don't have housing stock anymore. You have cut essential staff to the bone. You are not responsible for water, ferries or buses any more. Where exactly is the cash going? JimmyMercury
  • Score: 20

2:37pm Wed 5 Feb 14

RL 1952 says...

Yet another illustration of the councils mismanagement and who has to pick up the tab - the council taxpayers. We have far too many councillors who are a drain on resources lets see cutbacks and reductions in the councillors and senior officers gravy train. We have duplication - new super directors who have proved to be anything but super and then directors who couldn't direct traffic - until we have proper transparency and accountability this farce will continue and the deterioration ion the running of the council will continue
Yet another illustration of the councils mismanagement and who has to pick up the tab - the council taxpayers. We have far too many councillors who are a drain on resources lets see cutbacks and reductions in the councillors and senior officers gravy train. We have duplication - new super directors who have proved to be anything but super and then directors who couldn't direct traffic - until we have proper transparency and accountability this farce will continue and the deterioration ion the running of the council will continue RL 1952
  • Score: 8

3:05pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Thepleb says...

'THE REMODELING RESERVE' can insurance payments be made out of this fund?..lie after lie
'THE REMODELING RESERVE' can insurance payments be made out of this fund?..lie after lie Thepleb
  • Score: 4

3:16pm Wed 5 Feb 14

mickey1more says...

How about the Wirral Council going around and getting all the people who have not paid their council tax for years and then we the decent people of the Wirral would not have to have increases year after year.

With every house hold registered on a computer system the council KNOW who has paid and who hasn't !

Sort it out once and for all Councilor's.
How about the Wirral Council going around and getting all the people who have not paid their council tax for years and then we the decent people of the Wirral would not have to have increases year after year. With every house hold registered on a computer system the council KNOW who has paid and who hasn't ! Sort it out once and for all Councilor's. mickey1more
  • Score: 12

3:36pm Wed 5 Feb 14

bigfoot says...

woodcutter 56 wrote:
If you use the reserves where would all thr money fpr the golden handshakes come from maybe they wouldn't be as high heavens forbid
Instead of paying out to 'iffy' hurt feelings and shut up money to former senior employees.There is an outstanding issue of frontline staff who have been owed money from a job evaluation which commenced in 2008. Senior managers got their enhancement,but the staff who do all the work have been told that there isn't any money left,meanwhile UNISON are sitting on their hands!
[quote][p][bold]woodcutter 56[/bold] wrote: If you use the reserves where would all thr money fpr the golden handshakes come from maybe they wouldn't be as high heavens forbid[/p][/quote]Instead of paying out to 'iffy' hurt feelings and shut up money to former senior employees.There is an outstanding issue of frontline staff who have been owed money from a job evaluation which commenced in 2008. Senior managers got their enhancement,but the staff who do all the work have been told that there isn't any money left,meanwhile UNISON are sitting on their hands! bigfoot
  • Score: 8

4:37pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Thepleb says...

The unions are powerless all the big guns jumped ship before Christmas they never made any arguments about the recent job losses and won't about job losses that are going on without public consultation you don't argue with your paymasters do you, I wouldn't pay union fees if I worked for the council.
The unions are powerless all the big guns jumped ship before Christmas they never made any arguments about the recent job losses and won't about job losses that are going on without public consultation you don't argue with your paymasters do you, I wouldn't pay union fees if I worked for the council. Thepleb
  • Score: 8

7:39pm Wed 5 Feb 14

mickey1more says...

A Conservative Government says freeze the council tax.

What do our Labour Wirral Council do ? raise it year after year.

Wallasey used to be mainly a Tory seat years ago, now Labour have got in and also changed the boundaries to include Leasowe and Moreton Council estates we have seen our local council voted in as Labour !
What I am saying is probably these people who vote for Labour don't even pay council tax and never will, that's why they vote them in, election after election.

I say change the boundaries back to what they used to be and then see a huge change.
Woodchurch, Ford, Leasowe and Moreton we'd be lucky if 50% of households pay any council tax. Transparency ? Yer Right !
A Conservative Government says freeze the council tax. What do our Labour Wirral Council do ? raise it year after year. Wallasey used to be mainly a Tory seat years ago, now Labour have got in and also changed the boundaries to include Leasowe and Moreton Council estates we have seen our local council voted in as Labour ! What I am saying is probably these people who vote for Labour don't even pay council tax and never will, that's why they vote them in, election after election. I say change the boundaries back to what they used to be and then see a huge change. Woodchurch, Ford, Leasowe and Moreton we'd be lucky if 50% of households pay any council tax. Transparency ? Yer Right ! mickey1more
  • Score: 2

9:41pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Growl Tiger says...

I know I must sound like a boring old ****, but where are the comments from the overpaid, CEO of Wirral Borough Council who apparently sits in his suite in Brighton Road fiddling his own future whilst Rome (or in this case Wirral) falls to pieces.

The only time we saw him in action was as itchy & scratchy in a video of the “Improvement Board”.

He is now a permanent member of staff – a CEO – paid by us the council tax payers, yet we see and hear nothing from him. Where is he?
I know I must sound like a boring old ****, but where are the comments from the overpaid, CEO of Wirral Borough Council who apparently sits in his suite in Brighton Road fiddling his own future whilst Rome (or in this case Wirral) falls to pieces. The only time we saw him in action was as itchy & scratchy in a video of the “Improvement Board”. He is now a permanent member of staff – a CEO – paid by us the council tax payers, yet we see and hear nothing from him. Where is he? Growl Tiger
  • Score: 8

10:55pm Wed 5 Feb 14

bigfoot says...

Growl Tiger wrote:
I know I must sound like a boring old ****, but where are the comments from the overpaid, CEO of Wirral Borough Council who apparently sits in his suite in Brighton Road fiddling his own future whilst Rome (or in this case Wirral) falls to pieces.

The only time we saw him in action was as itchy & scratchy in a video of the “Improvement Board”.

He is now a permanent member of staff – a CEO – paid by us the council tax payers, yet we see and hear nothing from him. Where is he?
He is busy reading,have you seen how thick a BMW manual is,as thick as your average Councillor!
[quote][p][bold]Growl Tiger[/bold] wrote: I know I must sound like a boring old ****, but where are the comments from the overpaid, CEO of Wirral Borough Council who apparently sits in his suite in Brighton Road fiddling his own future whilst Rome (or in this case Wirral) falls to pieces. The only time we saw him in action was as itchy & scratchy in a video of the “Improvement Board”. He is now a permanent member of staff – a CEO – paid by us the council tax payers, yet we see and hear nothing from him. Where is he?[/p][/quote]He is busy reading,have you seen how thick a BMW manual is,as thick as your average Councillor! bigfoot
  • Score: 6

4:58am Thu 6 Feb 14

MDRyUK says...

Unfortunately money doesn't grow on trees but WBC don't recognise this fact!
====================
====================
=================
Therefore they will take absolutely no notice of Wirral rate payers and probably "for party political reasons" put our rates up by 2% from 1st April 2014 come what may!
WHEN will they take a BIG hit on their Council Member allowances? That's what I'd like to know ...... they've CUT EVERTHING ELSE a-p-a-r-t from THEIR OWN ALLOWANCES!
Incredible! One couldn't make it up! Oh dear.
Unfortunately money doesn't grow on trees but WBC don't recognise this fact! ==================== ==================== ================= Therefore they will take absolutely no notice of Wirral rate payers and probably "for party political reasons" put our rates up by 2% from 1st April 2014 come what may! WHEN will they take a BIG hit on their Council Member allowances? That's what I'd like to know ...... they've CUT EVERTHING ELSE a-p-a-r-t from THEIR OWN ALLOWANCES! Incredible! One couldn't make it up! Oh dear. MDRyUK
  • Score: 5

8:14pm Thu 6 Feb 14

bluey says...

And what exactly are we paying for? It should be halved with the service we receive on the wirral
And what exactly are we paying for? It should be halved with the service we receive on the wirral bluey
  • Score: 2

9:39am Tue 11 Feb 14

mock beggar says...

mickey1more wrote:
A Conservative Government says freeze the council tax.

What do our Labour Wirral Council do ? raise it year after year.

Wallasey used to be mainly a Tory seat years ago, now Labour have got in and also changed the boundaries to include Leasowe and Moreton Council estates we have seen our local council voted in as Labour !
What I am saying is probably these people who vote for Labour don't even pay council tax and never will, that's why they vote them in, election after election.

I say change the boundaries back to what they used to be and then see a huge change.
Woodchurch, Ford, Leasowe and Moreton we'd be lucky if 50% of households pay any council tax. Transparency ? Yer Right !
It doesn't suit your argument but Moreton became part of the County Borough of Wallasey in 1920s. It is not a recent move by Labour. Wallasey was then absorbed into the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in 1974.
[quote][p][bold]mickey1more[/bold] wrote: A Conservative Government says freeze the council tax. What do our Labour Wirral Council do ? raise it year after year. Wallasey used to be mainly a Tory seat years ago, now Labour have got in and also changed the boundaries to include Leasowe and Moreton Council estates we have seen our local council voted in as Labour ! What I am saying is probably these people who vote for Labour don't even pay council tax and never will, that's why they vote them in, election after election. I say change the boundaries back to what they used to be and then see a huge change. Woodchurch, Ford, Leasowe and Moreton we'd be lucky if 50% of households pay any council tax. Transparency ? Yer Right ![/p][/quote]It doesn't suit your argument but Moreton became part of the County Borough of Wallasey in 1920s. It is not a recent move by Labour. Wallasey was then absorbed into the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in 1974. mock beggar
  • Score: 0

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