First Wigan council tax rise in seven years 'wasn't an easy decision' says leader

A seven-year freeze on council tax for households in Wigan will end next month.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 12:00 pm

People living in Band A properties, the most common council tax band in the borough, will pay an extra £41.67 over the next financial year when charges set by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham are taken into account.

Wigan Council sets two sections of the bill – a general levy for council services and a ringfenced rate for adult social care – with additional precepts for around 3,600 properties located in the parishes of Haigh and Shevington. The local authority has raised the adult social care precept four times since the government created the charge and will raise it again next year by three per cent.

Additional charges for police, fire and other mayoral responsibilities have also risen for Greater Manchester residents in recent years and next year the police precept will rise by £6.67 for Band A properties with all other fees frozen.

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Coun Nazia Rehman

However, the 0.99 per cent increase in general council tax, which was set as part of the budget last week, will be the first in Wigan since 2014.

Council leader David Molyneux explained why the ruling Labour group decided it was time to end the council tax freeze.

He said: “We’ve got to take the decision very carefully and very fairly. That’s why we kept our council tax the lowest in Greater Manchester.

“It’s important to us that we try to keep that cost at a minimum. We’ve got to deliver a balanced budget. We’ve got to provide the best services and the best quality of services. It was not an easy decision.”

Cost pressures in social care are the main cause for the hike, the leader said.

The three per cent rise in the adult social care precept is expected to raise £3.6m with the general council tax rise of 0.99 per cent expected to generate around £1.2m.

But much of the general tax increase will be spent on adult social care too.

The local authority will also be spending £10m of reserves on children’s services over the next three years as the department tries to tackle overspending.

A further £10m of reserves will be used over the same period to create 100 apprenticeships and graduate jobs aimed at people living in the borough.

Coun Nazia Rehman, who is responsible for finance, resources and transformation at the town hall, also said the town hall will be investing more than £29m in the housing market which could create further opportunities.

She said: “As soon as the pandemic started, we realised we will be bringing up a lost generation. So we wanted to keep that in mind.

“We’re going to invest more than £29m in our local housing market next year, creating as many apprenticeships and as many jobs as possible.”

Speaking at the annual budget meeting last week, the Labour councillor revealed that more than 13,000 households will be able to claim 100 per cent council tax relief and 14,997 households will qualify for an 80 per cent discount.

People living in Band A properties, the most common council tax band in the borough, will pay an extra £41.67 over the next financial year when charges set by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham are taken into account.

Wigan Council sets two sections of the bill – a general levy for council services and a ringfenced rate for adult social care – with additional precepts for around 3,600 properties located in the parishes of Haigh and Shevington.

The local authority has raised the adult social care precept four times since the government created the charge and will raise it again next year by three per cent.

Additional charges for police, fire and other mayoral responsibilities have also risen for Greater Manchester residents in recent years and next year the police precept will rise by £6.67 for Band A properties with all other fees frozen.

However, the 0.99 pc increase in general council tax, which was set as part of the budget last week, will be the first in Wigan since 2014.

Council leader David Molyneux explained why the ruling Labour group decided it was time to end the council tax freeze.

He said: “We’ve got to take the decision very carefully and very fairly. That’s why we kept our council tax the lowest in Greater Manchester.

“It’s important to us that we try to keep that cost at a minimum. We’ve got to deliver a balanced budget. We’ve got to provide the best services and the best quality of services. It was not an easy decision.”

Cost pressures in social care are the main cause for the hike, the leader said.

The three per cent rise in the adult social care precept is expected to raise £3.6m with the general council tax rise of 0.99 per cent expected to generate around £1.2m.

But much of the general tax increase will be spent on adult social care too.

The local authority will also be spending £10m of reserves on children’s services over the next three years as the department tries to tackle overspending.

A further £10m of reserves will be used over the same period to create 100 apprenticeships and graduate jobs aimed at people living in the borough.

Coun Nazia Rehman, who is responsible for finance, resources and transformation at the town hall, also said the town hall will be investing more than £29m in the housing market which could create further opportunities.

She said: “As soon as the pandemic started, we realised we will be bringing up a lost generation. So we wanted to keep that in mind.

“We’re going to invest more than £29m in our local housing market next year, creating as many apprenticeships and as many jobs as possible.”

Speaking at the annual budget meeting last week, the Labour councillor revealed that more than 13,000 households will be able to claim 100 per cent council tax relief and 14,997 households will qualify for an 80 er cent discount.

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