Wakefield Council sets out responsible approach to 2024-25 budget

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

We have set out some initial budget saving proposals for 2024-25 as part of a responsible approach to protecting services, at the same time as meeting a £35.6m budget challenge.

Cabinet are being asked to consider some early proposals, which will contribute to the Council finances being more sustainable for the future. If approved, the plans will form part of the budget consultation in January 2024.

"We’ve managed our finances responsibly over the years, making the tough decisions required to make sure our position continues to be stable."

Cllr Denise Jeffery

Leader of Wakefield Council

Councillor Denise Jeffery

"But we’ve had over a decade of chronic underfunding by central Government, huge inflationary pressures, and unprecedented demand on services. Those mean that every Council up and down the country is facing significant financial challenges.

We’re not immune from that, but we know what needs to be done to be sustainable into the future. We’re in a good position to achieve that, and these proposals show how we’ll continue to make the Council more efficient, at the same time as protecting jobs and supporting our most vulnerable residents."

Our plans include maximising every bit of grant funding received, and delivering projects via external funding opportunities. Recognition of ongoing recruitment and retention challenges mean there can be further efficiencies realised from the existing staffing budgets in recognition of this across each directorate.

The proposed savings and efficiencies in this latest report come to £16.8m and include:

  • over £1.4m from continuing to invest in energy efficient street lighting
  • around £3.5m from recognising the lead in time to recruit to vacancies and to help protect jobs already filled
  • over £2.5m by changing the way we work in adults and children’s social care, to be even more efficient
  • around £0.5m by increasing charges for trade refuse, services to schools, utility companies and increasing planning fees
  • £0.4m from reducing the Council’s property estate including the sale of Castleford Civic Centre

Cllr Jeffery added: “We remain ambitious for the whole district. By being responsible with our financial management and changing how we deliver some things, we can continue to invest in the priorities that our communities rely on us for.”

The initial budget proposals will be considered at the Council’s next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 12 December.

It starts at 10.30am and can be watched live or later, on the Council’s website. The Council has a legal requirement to deliver a balanced budget.

The full set of budget proposals will go before Cabinet in January after receipt of the provisional local government settlement due in December. Consultation on the Council’s budget proposals will then take place with residents and businesses. The final 2024/25 budget proposals will be reported to Cabinet in February.

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