Council call for budget protection so cost of living support can continue
Councillors at Telford and Wrekin Council have agreed to seek assurance from government and local MPs that council budgets will be protected so that vital cost of living support can continue.
At a Full Council meeting on 10 November 2022, a motion declaring a cost of living emergency and the commitment of the council to support residents and businesses was put forward by Councillor Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities.
The motion also acknowledged that without government support for residents in the forthcoming budget statement, cuts to services are inevitable.
Council Leader, Councillor Shaun Davies (Labour) said: “The government’s handling of the economy in recent months is already having an impact on people in our borough, with mortgage and rent worries adding to food and energy bill hikes.
“An inflation rate in double-figures also means the council is paying far more now to provide essential services that people rely on than just a few months ago.
“As a local council, we can’t solve national or international problems but we are on the side of our residents and businesses and will do everything we can to help.
“To do this, we’re not asking the government for the world, just that our budget is equal to last year’s in real terms.”
Councillor Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, (Labour) said: “As a council on the side of our residents we are still committed to freezing council tax in April 2023 for a second year in a row – keeping more money in people’s pockets.
“We will do everything we can with the resources available to help our residents through this cost of living crisis. We did it through the pandemic and through the flooding and we’ll do it again. However it’s vital that the Treasury recognises this in the finance settlement later this year.”
Councillor Kelly Middleton (Labour), Cabinet Member for Leisure, Public Health and Wellbeing, Equalities and Partnerships, who seconded the motion, said: “The cost of living crisis will have a significant impact on the health of Telford and Wrekin’s residents, as well as on their social and economic wellbeing.
“This council has put in place a comprehensive local response to the cost of living crisis, ensuring our residents and businesses benefit from much needed support organisations. Whilst we are doing everything we can to be on the side of our local communities, the level of support we are having to provide currently is not sustainable in the long term.”