Bill hikes will affect council

Peter Box after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall
Peter Box after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

Soaring energy prices will result in deeper cuts to Wakefield Council’s services, leader Peter Box has warned.

Coun Box told a full council meeting last week that a ten per cent increase in energy and water bills would reduce the council’s service budget by £500,000 a year.

The ‘big six’ energy companies have already announced plans to raise prices by an average of eight per cent.

Coun Box said: “We need to lobby government in response to these companies, who are quite frankly ripping off the public.

“There has been a lot of debate about the energy and water costs and the impact on families who are already finding things tough. It is not just members of the public but this authority as well.”

Coun Box criticised Yorkshire Water, claiming it made operating profits of £331m last year while not paying any corporation tax.

He added: “This is outrageous. Families right the way through this district are feeling the impact of these rising costs.”

The council announced in February it would have to cut 120 jobs and raise council tax to save £46m over two years.

Coun Box said: “There will be a worse service in many areas because of these decisions.”

Yorkshire Water insisted it complied with tax laws.

In a statement, it said: “Yorkshire Water makes a massive contribution to the regional economy, investing more than £1m a day to improve drinking water quality, bathing water quality and to help ensure communities are better protected from flooding. The tax rules were designed by government to encourage this investment in infrastructure.”