Council approves budget plan

Wigan borough's budget was approved at the town hall on Wednesday
Wigan borough's budget was approved at the town hall on Wednesday

Wigan borough's budget - including a controversial three week bin collection rota - has been given the green light by the full council.

Town hall bosses said the change from a two week rota would save the cash-strapped local authority £2m per year and is hoped to improve recycling rates.

However, results of a public consultation on the budget proposals had shown a majority of residents were not in favour of moving from the current system.

The budget includes a council tax rise of three per cent to fund adult social care although there will be no hike for the general part of the tax bill.

Leader Lord Smith said the borough's tax increase will be the lowest across Greater Manchester and the cost of tax bills will be the second lowest in the region.

He told the chamber: "We recognised early doors that to make the amount of cuts we had to we couldn't just slice services, we needed to do things differently and we have done that through the Wigan Deal."

Wigan Council is to make £16m worth of cutbacks this year, part of £43m savings scheduled before 2020. This will bring the amount to £158m lost from government grants since 2010.

The financial plan includes a change in policy to waive cremation and burial fees for under-18s and to maintain schools crossing patrols after council bosses said the £400k saving it would have generated deemed to be not worthwhile given the safety the service provides.

It was supported by the Conservative opposition group as leader Coun Mike Winstanley said he endorsed the council's plans to keep council tax down and "wholeheartedly" agreed with the abolition of cremation/burial fees for under 18s.

However, independent Coun Bob Brierley said the bin changes will pose problems for residents and lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

The bin changes begin in September. Green bin collections will remain on the fortnightly rota apart from between November and March each year, but this aspect of the new system will not start until 2018.

The budget was approved with 65 votes, 67 out of 75 councillors were present in the chamber. Couns Debbie Fairhurst and Bob Brierley abstained.

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