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The Budget - FAQs

Each year we get a lot of questions about how the budget is set and what this means for residents. Some of the most frequently asked questions are answered below.

 

We will be holding a live Twitter Q&A with the Managing Director, Rob Thomas, on Tuesday 24 January between 7:00 - 8:00pm. If you have any questions on Council services or the budget please join in using #AsktheMD

Please take a moment to read our Social Media Code of Conduct.

 

  • Why are things changing?
    The Vale of Glamorgan Council is facing a cut to its budget for the 2017/18 financial year, as it has for the last five years. The latest Medium Term Financial Plan projects that the required saving for 2017/18 is £9.3m which is a 4% reduction of our overall budget.

     

    At the same time as having to deal with these unprecedented financial challenges we are also seeing the demand for, and cost of delivering, key services such as education and social care continue to rise.

  •  What is going to change?
    The Vale of Glamorgan Council has an excellent track record of delivering high quality services with a small budget. Since 2010 we have saved £44m without significantly changing the services that we provide. However, efficiency savings alone will no longer be enough to make the savings required.

     

    Business as usual is simply not an option and so in 2014 the Council began a wide ranging review of all areas of its work as part of our Reshaping Services programme. 

     

    As part of Reshaping Services we are fundamentally reviewing all of our areas of work, considering how services could be provided in the future and by whom. We are engaging with Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector in looking for new and innovative ways of working.

  • Will services be removed?
    The Vale of Glamorgan Council currently provides over 1000 separate services to over 127,000 residents. Given the scale of the challenge we now face, it is simply impossible for the Council to continue to do everything that is currently does when funding is being cut so significantly.

     

    Times change and expectations change too. It will always be our goal to protect the services that are most highly valued by our residents. At the same time it does not make sense for us to continue to provide services that are no longer wanted or can't be shown to be benefiting those who use them. Where this is the case it makes sense for us to focus our staff and money on those things that make a difference to people's lives.

     

    No services will however be removed completely without consultation. 

  • If services are being removed, why isn’t my council tax reducing?
    Council tax is collected locally to help pay for council services. However, the money raised by the Vale of Glamorgan Council by collecting council tax accounts for less than a quarter of our total budget.

     

    One of the ways in which we can lessen the impact of central government’s cuts to our funding is by increasing the income generated locally. Your council tax is one of these forms of income.

     

    Despite the difficult financial pressures facing the council we have been able to keep the Vale’s council tax below the Welsh average. Currently, the average Band D house in the Vale pays £1,362 a year, while the highest Band D council tax in Wales is £1,695 a year.

  • How else can the Council raise more income?
    One of the other ways in which we can increase the amount of money that we have to fund our services is by reviewing the way in which we charge for some of them.

     

    Many non-statutory services (the ones that we are not legally required to provide) currently have small charges. There are currently no service charges, such as the fee a resident would pay for us to review a planning application, that fully cover the cost of us providing that service.

     

    Recouping the cost of these non-essential services would allow us to shift money into the areas of our work that most need it and this is something we are considering.

     

    We are also looking at how we might be able to generate income and offset costs by using our expertise to offer services to others, and by increasing the fines that we are able to issue for antisocial activity and non-compliance such as littering, dog fouling, or failing to follow waste collection guidelines.

  • Will you sell off buildings and other assets to save money?
     Yes, this is something that we are having to consider. The Council has already closed one of its offices in Barry to cut costs and is working towards closing a second in the next year. On top of this we are reviewing all of our assets to make sure that we get the most from them and are not paying unnecessarily to run and maintain any which we do not need. This is also helping us to work with other organisations to see whether there is potential for community asset transfers to groups who may be able to operate these assets for community benefit.
  • Will you be cutting jobs and pay to save money?
    Yes, again we have been doing exactly this. This is most noticeable in our senior management structure which has been drastically reduced since an initial restructure in 2012. This alone has saved the Council nearly £1m in the years since.
  • What about councillors' pay and expenses?
    The current political leadership of the Vale of Glamorgan Council has reduced the number of cabinet posts from 10 to 5 since 2012. This has saved the council over £100,000 in each of these years.

     

    The total cost of all 46 councillors’ pay is £824,000, around £18,000 per councillor. In 2015/16 the total cost of claimable expenses was £2,000. This is less than 1% of the Council’s total spend.

  • What happens if you can’t make all these savings?
    Quite simply this is not an option. The Vale of Glamorgan Council, like all others, is legally required to produce a balanced budget every year. These savings have to be made.
  •  What can I do about it?
    The best services are those that are designed in partnership with those that use them and we know that we can only achieve what we have set out to by effectively engaging Vale residents in the process.

     

    The easiest way for you to get involved in shaping the future of the Council is by responding to consultations and requests for feedback whenever possible.

  

 

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