Council Cabinet considers budget proposals
The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Cabinet will consider budget proposals next week as the organisation looks to balance the books following Welsh Government’s funding announcement.
The Council will receive just under £209 million for 2024/25, a figure that accounts for half its income, with the rest made up of Council Tax, charges for services and a share of business rates from across Wales.
This figure represents a ‘real terms’ cut in funding against a backdrop of rising energy prices, inflation and interest rates.
Demand for certain critical Council services is also growing sharply as is the cost of delivering many other services.
All this means the Authority is facing a significant budget shortfall so changes are needed to bring expenditure in line with income.
Cllr Lis Burnett, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “We have known for some time that the Council is facing an unprecedented financial challenge. I have tried to be very clear with residents about that and the seriousness with which we take the responsibility of spending public money.
“It is a simple fact that costs are increasing at a much higher rate than funding, which makes it impossible to maintain services at current levels. “The funding announcement from Welsh Government, though sobering, was not unexpected and in line with our financial modelling.
“This situation is one that we have long been preparing for and an area in which this Council has a positive track record of success. “Though difficult and unpalatable decisions lie ahead, there is also an opportunity to find new and innovative ways to deliver our services and better serve our residents. This transformative approach is another sphere in which this organisation has previously excelled.
“As the budget is finalised over the next few months, what will remain an absolute priority is maintaining services for those in our communities that need them most. We will always make sure our children, older people and those with additional needs are properly looked after.”
Suggestions on how the funding gap can be bridged are included in a report to be reviewed by Cabinet.
They include proposals for £7.8 million in savings from Council budgets, increased charges for certain services, a Council Tax increase of 6.7 per cent, alongside forward-thinking, creative ways to generate income.
Linked to the Council’s Regeneration Programme and the successful recent Levelling Up bid that will see the creation of a marina in Barry, there are plans to rent office space in the nearby Dock Office.
Another idea is to introduce more small retail concessions to locations throughout the Vale, while the Council will look to occupy fewer buildings.
More sports and community groups will have the opportunity to gain greater independence by taking over the management of their facilities, an arrangement that has already proved extremely popular among bowls clubs and other organisations.
After being agreed by Cabinet, savings proposals will be put to scrutiny committees and residents through a public consultation before the budget is considered further and finalised at a meeting of all Councillors in March.
The consultation launches on January 18 and will run for four weeks.