WARRINGTON is the lowest funded unitary or metropolitan council is the North West – and the third lowest in the country, based on Government figures.
At the same time, it has the fifth lowest level of council tax in the region and one of the lowest in the country.
This is revealed in a pre-budget report to be presented to the borough council’s cabinet on Monday, October 14 by deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for corporate resources Cllr Cathy Mitchell.
If Warrington could increase its council tax to the same level as Liverpool, it would raise an extra £14.5 million every year. If it could increase the tax to the same level as the North West average, it would raise an extra £3.6 million a year.
But while Liverpool can raise its Band D council tax by £33, Warrington can only raise it by £28.7 – increasing the gap between councils.
If Warrington received the same funding per dwelling as the average for the North West, the borough would receive an extra £41 million.
The borough council plans to put each budget proposal out for public consultation as it arises and if the public does not like any particular proposal, they will be encouraged to put forward alternative suggestions.
Cllr Mitchell’s report emphasises that Warrington is an enterprising council – very active in looking for and acting to generate its own income to plug the funding gap and move towards self-sufficiency.
It cites investment in solar energy, lending to small and medium sized enterprises and investment in property to generate rental income as examples of this.
The council is set to agree its 2020-21 budget in February.
But the report stresses that all figures are still estimates and are liable to change.