Council launches budget consultation
THE Vale of Glamorgan Council is encouraging residents to have their say on next year’s budget.
Work to determine the Authority’s income and expenditure for 2022/23 has begun and the views of people who live in the Vale are an important part of that process.
Last month, Leader Neil Moore spelled out the stark financial position the Council is facing following a decade of austerity and the significant impact of Covid-19.
Cost pressures are at a far higher level than in previous years - estimated at just under £27 million for 2022/23 - and this is having a major effect on budget planning.
The Council's budget comes from three sources:
• Council Tax paid by residents (33 per cent of the total).
• Business Rates paid by businesses (18 per cent).
• Financial settlement from Welsh Government (49 per cent).
Though the financial settlement awarded to the Council from Welsh Government is not yet known, even the most optimistic outcome will likely still leave a significant shortfall in funding.
Cllr Moore said: “This is the toughest financial position we have ever experienced. I want to be completely clear with residents on that point and the fact we are facing unpalatable choices as we bid to maintain the vital services on which people rely.
“Although the amount of funding received from Welsh Government last year was higher than anticipated, it did not address the legacy of the previous 10 years during which Local Authority funding was consistently cut.
“That coupled with the financial burden of the coronavirus has left the Council in an extremely challenging predicament. “I would like us to tackle the situation together so I would encourage all residents to take part in this survey. Your opinions will play a vital part in deciding the best way forward.”
A number of other factors are also expected to negatively affect the Council’s financial position, including inflationary pressures such as increasing energy prices and changes to National Insurance payments.
The Vale also has an ageing population and growing number of children with complex and additional learning needs, groups that importantly require our support and intervention.
Many steps have already been taken to reduce costs, such as charging for services, delivering services in partnership and collaborating with other councils.
However, the Authority is still contemplating some difficult decisions as it plans the budget for 2022/23.
In order to help make those decisions, residents are being asked where they would most like money to be spent and to prioritise the Council services that matter most to them.
The Council is also asking residents for their view on Council tax increases of 3.2, 3.9, 4.2 and 7.05 per cent.
The lowest of these rises would involve a significant reduction in non-statutory Council services, the middle two would see less severe reductions, while the third - which would bring the Vale in line with the average Council Tax cost fort Wales - would see most services protected.
For a Band D property, these rates would represent an increase of £3.65, £4.41, £4.75 or £7.98 per month. The consultation runs from December 03 to January 17. To take part, visit the website, email or call 01446 700111.
Budget proposals will be discussed by Cabinet and scrutiny committees before being finalised at a meeting of Full Council in March.