Wirral Council Tax may rise by nearly 6%

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Wirral Borough Council headquarters at Wallasey Town Hall. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

Wirral Council headquarters at Wallasey Town Hall. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

Wirral residents face a proposed 5.99% rise in their Council Tax fees, plus possible new coastal parking and toilet charges, with a key meeting being held next week to decide the outcome.

The leading Labour group on Wirral Council is recommending that a hike of almost 6% on households is necessary, as it tries to tackle the £61 million shortfall in the next financial year.

A public consultation on the budget plans attracted 6,000 participants, leading to the council’s cabinet approving the proposals.

Janette Williamson, Finance and Income Generation Cabinet member, told JMU Journalism: “Most councils in the country have already risen their fees, as the central government has said we can. However, the government has continued to deprive us of funds elsewhere.

“The rise in Council Tax helps us to protect public services, yet we do need to look at commercial opportunities to raise income, which can mean selling assets to raise monies to invest in our services.”

The council’s current cash crisis has been described as the “most challenging ever” and comes on the back of years of seeing its funding slashed since austerity measures were first imposed by the Coalition Government in 2010.

Wirral Council says it plans to save £750,000 by cutting down senior management, as well as introducing charges elsewhere, such as 30 pence for the use of public toilets.

YouTube: Wirral Council (2016)

Car parking charges of £1 for an hour or £2 for all day would be brought in at various public areas and attractions, such as Derby Pool and Kings Parade, New Brighton, North Parade between Hoylake and Meols and South Parade in West Kirby.

Leader of Wirral Council, Philip Davies, said: “Wirral is forced to reduce its spending, or generate more income, by more than £100million by 2021. Our immediate challenge is to meet a £61million funding shortfall for 2018/19.

“Since the Government chose the path of austerity in 2010, Wirral Council has been forced to implement more than a quarter of a billion pounds in reductions and cuts to its budget. The impact of austerity bites on the quality of life enjoyed by residents.”

The council will set the taxation figures for 2018/19 at its meeting on March 5th.

About Jade Culver, JMU Journalism