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Budget

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 (73% of your bill)
  • Wyre Council (11% of your bill)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner (11% 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 £199.74 (on a Band D property) of the total amount of your bill.

Council tax increase

The Government announced two years ago 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 2019/20 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 £5.80 a year on a band D property, or just over 11p a week, and means that the overall cost for all Wyre's services will be 55p per day.

How much our government funding has 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 2019/20 we have received a reduction in funding of £390,000 or 10% compared to 2018/19, which is in line with the Government’s multi-year settlement offer.

Spending power figures, which show a 3% reduction for 2019/20, include council tax receipts and new homes bonus grant, masking a 10% reduction in revenue support grant and baseline funding.

Over the nine years up to and including 2019/20 we have lost £7m in funding which is the equivalent of 79% of our grant back in 2010/11 (which was £8.9m).

What we can expect in the future

2019/20 is the final year of the multi-year settlement deal so beyond this our funding position is uncertain. The government are conducting a Spending Review in 2019 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 committed to providing provisional funding allocations by the beginning of December.

How we have 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 £5.9m between 2010/11 and 2017/18 that's an average of £737,000 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 the budget means 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 Waste and Recycling Service was again successfully shortlisted in the Best Performer category 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.

Poulton's Vicarage Park, Hawthorne Park and Wyre Estuary Country Park in Thornton and Fleetwood’s Memorial Park have all received Green Flag awards for another year.

Ferry Beach and Marine Beach in Fleetwood, and Rossall Beach and Jubilee Beach in Cleveleys have all been awarded Seaside Awards for another year.

Poulton New Cemetery was awarded Gold in the medium cemetery category at the Cemetery of the Year Awards.

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 2019/20 50% 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,

£1.1m for the restoration of the Mount, Fleetwood

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’re also generating income by making best use of our assets including sharing office accommodation with our partners e.g. Police.

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 and hosted our first ever wedding open day on 17 February to launch our new wedding events packages. At the same time, we’ve ensured that all our fees and charges remain low for community use.

We’ve launched an online shop so Fleetwood Market traders can maximise selling their goods and we achieved two awards for the market during the year – ‘Lancashire retail experience of the year’ at the Lancashire Tourism Awards and North of England ‘Best of Britain’ business award 2018.

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 5th 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.

Wyre’s Local Plan has been through the Planning Inspectorate process and approved by the Council.

We will continue to support the roll out of full fibre broadband along the tramline into Fleetwood.

Wyre will be participating in the Lancashire 75% Business Rates Retention Pool Pilot in 2019/20 which includes all local authorities, except Lancaster City Council, and the Fire Authority. Through this initiative Wyre will be able to retain more business rates growth in the borough (forecast £400,000) with the added benefit of additional growth to be retained across Lancashire (forecast £10m).

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 to support their 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.

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 the future looks

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. This will be further supported by the recent creation of the Property Investment Fund pilot which will look at opportunities for us to invest in and grow our local economy whilst achieving a positive financial return on our investment.

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 look forward to establishing our Local Lottery in 2020 which 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.

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