Where your council tax goes
Council tax is made up of a number of payments to the authorities that provide services in the area:
- Lancashire County Council (74.2% of your bill)
- Wyre Council (10.8% of your bill)
- Police and Crime Commissioner (11.2% of your bill)
- Combined Fire Authority (3.8% of your bill)
Wyre Council is the billing authority and collects council tax on behalf of all these agencies. However Wyre's portion represents just under 11% or £204.74 (on a Band D property) of the total amount of your bill.
Council tax increase
The Government announced that they would allow districts to increase council tax by up to 2% or £5 a year on a Band D equivalent property, if that is greater than 2%, without triggering a referendum. Their spending power calculation for 2020/21 assumes that districts will increase their council tax by whichever is the highest.
We have decided to follow the government’s lead to maximise our spending power potential whilst keeping costs low for residents and continuing to provide Wyre's vital front line services. This equates to a rise of £5 (2.5%) a year on a band D property, or just 10p per week, and means that the overall cost for all Wyre's services will be 56p 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%
2019/20 – a reduction of £0.4m or 10%
For 2020/21 we have received a slight increase of £54,000 in line with inflation of 1.6% on our baseline funding compared to 2019/20.
Spending power figures, show a 1.7% increase.
Over the ten years up to and including 2020/21 we have lost £7m in funding which is the equivalent of over 78% of our grant back in 2010/11 (which was £8.9m).
What can we expect in future?
2020/21 is a one-year settlement deal so beyond this our funding position is uncertain. The government are conducting a delayed Spending Review in 2020 as well as consulting on a Fair Funding Review and Business Rates Retention Reform. By the end of the year the position should be much clearer and central government have previously committed to providing provisional funding allocations by the beginning of December.
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, income generation and prudent financial management including exploring commercial opportunities.
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 £6m between 2010/11 and 2018/19 that's an average of £670,000 per year and we predict future savings will take us over the £7m 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.
Our latest Life in Wyre Survey results show that 80% of our residents are satisfied or very satisfied with where they live.
The Cemeteries and the Waste and Recycling Service were again successfully shortlisted in the national Association of Public Service Excellence Awards.
The public toilets provided in Wyre continue to be of a high standard and the Authority was placed in the top five in the National Loo of the Year Awards and are now considered in the Premier League for public conveniences.
Ferry Beach and Marine Beach in Fleetwood, and Rossall Beach and Jubilee Beach in Cleveleys have all been awarded Seaside Awards for another year.
Investing in Wyre
Wyre is extremely successful in securing funding from external sources such as the Environment Agency, Coastal Communities and Heritage Lottery which allows us to keep investing in the borough.
In 2020/21 80% of our capital spending will be financed by external grants and contributions. Examples to date include:
£1.8m to deliver Disabled Facilities Grants providing adaptations to enable people with disabilities to live at home more independently,
£0.8m for the restoration of the Mount, Fleetwood and;
£0.1m for digital signage on the coast. The Mount in Fleetwood is currently undergoing a revival. Following a successful restoration of the seaward side of the Grade II registered gardens to their original 19th century design a further bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform the landward side has also been successful. This scheme includes the iconic pavilion, rose garden and gate lodge and is expected to be completed by September 2020.
We will be rolling out a new wheeled bin container to replace the current box for glass, cans and plastics and this will help us to improve the opportunities for residents to recycle more. This links to the adoption of a new Single Use Plastics policy by the Council and our commitment to tackle the impact of climate change. Wyre Council has committed to plant 25,000 new trees over the next five years and details of how residents, groups and businesses can get involved will be promoted in due course.
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. We are utilising our venues for weddings including the Mount Pavilion which is proving to be a popular addition to the Marine Hall, Civic Centre and Thornton Little Theatre venues. At the same time, we’ve ensured that all our fees and charges remain low for community use.
We are developing 220sq metres of space over Fleetwood market into studios to offer spaces where artists and creative people can work from, develop products and maybe even sell their pieces on the trading floor of the market itself. The new Market House Studios will be launched at the end of March 2020. The outdoor area of Fleetwood Market is also going through a redevelopment and new outdoor units are being installed for fresh food and other items which will follow soon after. These improvements and digital signage to be installed in 2020/21 have been funded primarily from Coastal Communities Funding Round 5 following a successful bid for nearly £0.8m.
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.
The 6th annual Wyre Business Awards event was held in November at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood. The celebration event was attended by over 280 business people from across Wyre and was once again a great success.
We continue to work with our partners to develop the implementation plan for Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone in Thornton. The site will benefit from investment worth millions and government support to expand, creating jobs in the area and attracting greater awareness of the wider borough’s potential for growth.
We will continue to support the roll out of full fibre broadband along the tramline into Fleetwood.
Wyre Council recognises the importance of our High Streets and has submitted bids for Heritage Action Zone funding and Future High Streets Funding (FHSF) for Fleetwood. £150,000 has already been awarded for FHSF feasibility works and to develop a strategic regeneration framework for Fleetwood. A final bid will be submitted in April 2020. This bid will include a request for funding towards a joint £2m feasibility study into a Fylde coast Rail/Tram link which would include a Poulton to Fleetwood link.
Protecting vulnerable residents
We have committed, for the seventh 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 to support their free debt advice service, which helps those affected by welfare reforms, and we will continue to deliver a care and repair service which offers free advice and support to both the over 60s and disabled people.
We are partners in the Healthier Fleetwood project, helping to reduce social isolation, raise aspirations and improve the health outcomes for local residents. This important initiative brings together a wide range of stakeholders including those from the NHS, other local authorities, housing associations, local sports organisations and community groups with Wyre Council taking an active role to progress and promote the scheme.
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 potential changes in the funding allocation 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.
We held our first launch event for the new Local Lottery in January 2020, attended by over 80 interested groups with tickets going on sale in February and the first draw taking place in March. This excellent initiative will help to support community groups and other organisations in their fundraising endeavours as well as provide a general good causes fund for worthy projects in the borough.
We will also be launching our Citizen Access Portal in 2020 which will allow Wyre residents and businesses access to services online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will enable those who sign up to receive electronic bills, which is better for the environment, book services, check the status of any payments due to them and report local issues and track their progress.
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