£7m challenge for council

28 February 2013

civiccentreCouncillors in Neath Port Talbot have set out the council’s budget plans for the next financial year.

Proposals show the council needs to spend £283.3m with £276.25m available.

Councillors say the £7m deficit will be managed by ensuring all savings identified in the council’s Forward Financial Plan are delivered in full.

In addition, there will be increases in fees and charges for some services.

In cash terms, Neath Port Talbot will receive £217.5m from the Welsh Government with £57m being raised through a Council Tax increase of 3.87%. The council say that further cuts to services would be needed if it was not set at this level.

Council leader Ali Thomas, said: “This is another tough budget and difficult decisions have had to be made again.

“The Cabinet has worked hard with officers over recent months to put together strategies to resolve the shortfall and plan, as best we can for the future.

“On Council Tax, we have sought the right balance between recognising that families are hard pressed but that essential services need to be protected and maintained, particularly for the most vulnerable. This budget achieves that.”

“We are committed to saving jobs and avoiding compulsory redundancies. There are also very important messages for the citizens of Neath Port Talbot that the council is continuing to invest in the county borough.”

Investment pledges include:

  • £3m to be spent each year for the next three years on Disabled Facilities Grants to help maintain people’s independence at home.
  • A schools budget of £77.5m.
  • £4.5m extra funding for children and elderly services.
  • The council’s rolling programme of capital investment to continue during 2013-14 with a further investment of £48m.
  • £4.6m tol be spent on improving and enhancing street lighting.

Coun Thomas said: “We’ve worked hard to produce a balanced budget for the coming year but also to look at the challenges in the years ahead.

“It’s about sustaining services whilst having to make cuts. The UK Government have made severe cuts in the Welsh Government budget, which of course affects local government settlements.

“Nevertheless, along with the help of the Welsh Government we’re going to be investing in social services, children’s services and schools.”

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