Latest Public Sector News

12.11.18

Cardiff council sets out plans for service cuts to fill £35m budget blackhole

Cardiff council has set out an array of cuts to public services along with a 4.3% hike in council tax and capping school’s budget growth as the authority needs to make £35m to plug a funding gap.

The local authority faces a budget gap of £93m over the next three years and needs £36.8m extra funding to maintain is frontline services at current levels just for the next year, but has received just £1.6m extra funding from the Welsh Government.

The cuts proposed in the council’s budget consultation include raising council tax rising by 4.3%, increasing a number of charges for public services such as burials and cremations, and automating customer enquiries.

Cardiff council said 65% of its current £609m budget is spent on schools and social services, with both experiencing surges in demand as the capital’s population grows.

It says other areas of the budget, such as council tax support, “cannot readily be cut,” which means that the majority of savings have to come from service budgets totalling just £113m, which is why it is cutting school budgets by £3.6m relative to rising costs.

The council said it has already made cumulative savings of almost a quarter of a billion pounds over the last 10 years to balance its books, with over 1,600 full-time employees leaving the authority as part of budget savings in the last six years.

It is now urging residents to give their feedback on the new saving proposals, which also include securing a new theatre tenant for the New Theatre to generate income, and looking at ways of reducing subsidies to major events in Cardiff.

Cllr Chris Weaver said: “I understand why people ask why we need to raise council tax, but without a rise we would have no choice but to cut services like parks, libraries or waste collections even further.”

“Balancing our ambitions for the city and the need to continue to cut budgets is a difficult act.”

The consultation will run for six weeks, starting on 16 November.

 Image credit - Leonid Andronov

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