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Cardiff Council approves plans for council tax rise and over 50 job losses to tackle £32m budget gap

More than £32m of cuts at Cardiff City Council have been given the green light, paving the way for a wave of savings including 55 full-time job losses and a council tax hike of nearly 5% which is likely to increase for each of the next four years.

The largest council in Wales faces a £32.4m budget shortfall for the next year and the new budget will see an increase in costs for some public services and some cutbacks – although the authority said that social services and schools will receive a funding boost.

Council tax in Cardiff will rise by 4.9% from April, and will likely rise by another 4.5% for each of the next four years, costing the band D council taxpayer an extra £56 a year.

Conservative councillors said the hike was “simply too high wherever in Cardiff you live” but the in-power Labour Group defended the rise, describing it as likely of the lowest rises in Wales.

Last month Anglesey council announced it was facing its “biggest financial challenge to date” as it revealed a 9.5% council tax increase.

Powys County Council also just moved forward with a 9.5% council tax increase in a bid to tackle a £12m budget deficit, sparking the authority’s cabinet to write to first minister Mark Drakeford calling for a meeting to discuss immediate changes to the local government funding formula.

But Cardiff Council faces a budget gap of £93m over the next three years, and it said previously that as 65% of its budget is currently spent on schools, social services, and council tax support, which cannot readily be cut, the cuts must come from service budgets totalling just £113m.

In the council’s budget plans approved today, £19m worth of savings will be implemented across all departments which will see 55 full-time jobs lost across the authority’s street cleaning, waste management, and libraries.

The council has set aside £10m for schools and £5m for social services, although Cardiff still wants to save £6m in this area.

Finance cabinet member Chris Weaver said: “This coming year we will have to bridge a £32.4m gap in our budget which comes on top of £218m in cuts over the past 10 years.

“Balancing the books while maintaining the services our residents want is getting harder each year, but we are ambitious for Cardiff and we want our city to be a great place to live and to do business in.”

Weaver added: “Of course the majority of the savings - £19m - will have to be found across the council. This will mean more changes to the work we do and to the services we offer. Unfortunately, there will be some job losses too.

“These are never easy choices to make and this council has already lost 1,632 posts over the past seven years.”

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