Wyre's 2018/19 budget - key facts and figures
Where does your council tax go?
Council tax is made up of a number of payments to the authorities that provide services in the area:
- Lancashire County Council (74% of your bill)
- Wyre Council (11% of your bill)
- Police and Crime Commissioner (10% of your bill)
- Combined Fire Authority (4% of your bill)
- Parish and Town Councils (where applicable) (1% of your bill)
Wyre Council is the billing authority and collects council tax on behalf of all these agencies however Wyre's portion represents only 11% or £193.94 (on a Band D property) of the total amount of your bill.
Council tax increase
The Government announced last year that they would allow districts to increase council tax by up to 3% or £5 a year on a Band D equivalent property, if that is greater than 3%, without triggering a referendum. Their spending power calculation for 2018/19 assumes that districts will increase their council tax by the suggested 3%.
We have decided to follow the government’s lead to maximise our spending power potential whilst keeping costs low for residents and continue providing Wyre's vital front line services. This equates to a rise of £5.63 a year on a band D property, or just under 11p a week, and means that the overall cost for all Wyre's services will be 53p per day.
By how much has our government funding been cut?
2013/14 - a reduction of £0.5m or 7%
2014/15 - a reduction of £1m or 14%
2015/16 - a reduction of £1m or 16%
2016/17 - a reduction of £0.9m or 16%
2017/18 – a reduction of £0.7m or 14%
2018/19 – a reduction of £0.4m or 9%
For 2018/19 we have received a reduction in funding of £356,000 or 9% compared to 2017/18, which is in line with the Government’s multi-year settlement offer.
Spending power figures, which show a 4% reduction for 2017/18, include council tax receipts and new homes bonus grant, masking a 9% reduction in revenue support grant and baseline funding.
Over the eight years up to and including 2018/19 we have lost £6.7m in funding which is the equivalent of 75% of our grant back in 2010/11 (which was £8.9m).
What can we expect in future?
Provisional grant funding for the final year of the multi-year settlement:
2019/20 reduction of £393,000 or 11% on 18/19
Over the nine years up to and including 2019/20 we will have lost £7m in funding which is the equivalent of 79% of our grant back in 2010/2011 (£8.9m).
How have we compensated for the reduction in funding?
We’ve prepared for it over the years by reducing spending, not increasing the level of borrowing and balancing the books through efficiency savings and prudent financial management. We also have an excellent track record on efficiency savings which has protected residents from the full impact of reductions in funding. We've saved over £5.6m between 2010/11 and 2016/17, that's an average of £808,000 per year and we predict future savings will take us over the £6m mark.
Wyre has never shied away from challenging how we deliver services or making difficult decisions and will continue to do so. This means continually reviewing how we operate and whether services meet the needs of our communities.
What does the budget mean for residents?
We've been steadfast in protecting and improving council services so residents consistently receive high standards of delivery.
The Mount in Fleetwood is currently undergoing a revival and we have restored the seaward side of the Grade II registered gardens to their original 19th century design. A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform the landward side including pavilion, rose garden and gate lodge is currently being developed.
The Waste and Recycling Service were successfully shortlisted in both the Best Public – Private Sector Partnership and Best Team of the Year categories in the National Association of Public Excellence Service Awards competing against other service sectors and all Local Authorities.
The public toilets provided in Wyre continue to be of a high standard and the Authority was placed in the top 5 in the National Loo of the Year Awards.
Four parks in Wyre have Green Flag Awards, including Memorial Park, Fleetwood which also received the prestigious Green Heritage Award, all in recognition of how well they are cared for. In addition, there was double success at the RHS North West in Bloom awards with Vicarage Park, Poulton-le-Fylde winning a gold medal and Memorial Park winning a distinction in the municipal parks category and finally The Mount won the prized Heritage award (The Civil Mayor of Tameside trophy).
Three of Wyre’s beaches have achieved Seaside Awards acknowledging them as being among the best in the country.
Our latest Life in Wyre Survey results show that 82% of our residents are satisfied or very satisfied with where they live.
Investing in Wyre
Wyre is extremely successful in securing funding from external sources such as the Environment Agency and Heritage Lottery which allows us to keep investing in the borough.
In 2018/19 96% of our capital spending will be financed by external grants and contributions. Examples to date include:
£63m to replace the sea defences at Rossall
£1.6m to distribute in Disabled Facilities Grants
We’ve been successful in attracting £30,000 in Lancashire Environmental Funding for a project at King George’s Playing Field and the main works will take place in 2018/19.
We’re also generating income by making best use of our assets including creating a new MOT Centre at our Copse Road Depot, Fleetwood and finding new tenants for empty properties.
We’re operating our venues in a more business oriented way, maximising opportunities to generate revenue and constantly looking for new ways to earn income. At the same time, we’ve ensured that all our fees and charges remain low for community use.
We’ve created a new Digital Hub facility at Fleetwood Market, in partnership with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, allowing residents to seek advice and support on council services and learn how to self-serve in future.
Growing Wyre's economy
Business creation and expansion is a priority at Wyre and we have an excellent track record in supporting businesses through our Wyred Up network. The aim is to bring businesses together to buy from each other and as their businesses grow, they then employ more people in the local economy who spend their wages locally.
Wyre’s role in the successful bid for Hillhouse Business Park in Thornton to become an Enterprise Zone, means it will now benefit from investment worth millions and government support to expand, potentially creating many jobs in the area. Working with our partners we are developing a Masterplan (to be consulted on at the start of 2018) for the site using £50,000 of Commercial Support Grant from central government to help build and strengthen our plans for this important business zone.
The 4th annual Wyre Business Awards event was held in November at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood attracting a record number of nominations (70) and attendees making it a great success and a fitting showcase for Wyre business.
Wyre’s Local Plan was submitted in January to the Planning Inspectorate, a significant step in the approval process with further stages taking place in 2018.
A new Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Prosperity Board is being established, replacing the former Economic Development company, to better drive forward economic growth and regeneration projects across the Fylde Coast.
Protecting vulnerable residents
We have committed, for the sixth year running, to protect our most vulnerable residents by limiting the contribution to the localised council tax support scheme for those previously on full benefit to 8.5%, which is significantly lower than neighbouring local authorities.
The Citizens Advice Bureau will continue to receive funding from Wyre at the same level and we continue to provide a free debt advice service, which helps those affected by welfare reforms, and a care and repair service which offers free advice and support to both the over 60s and disabled people.
How does the future look?
With an excellent track record in identifying efficiency savings and doing more for less, Wyre is in a strong financial position and we’re planning ahead for continued reductions in funding over the coming years.
Residents will continue to benefit from investment thanks to an approach of investing now to save money in the future and our track record of bringing in external funding.
As we ensure that we make best possible use of our assets, taxpayers can be certain of value for money and be reassured that we will negotiate improved community facilities where alternative options are required.
We will continue to generate investment and encourage development in the borough by providing a supportive business environment and making Wyre an attractive place to live and work.
Communities remain at the heart of everything we do and we will continue to find new ways of working, improving our services and providing excellent value for money.
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