Neath Port Talbot

Budget plans for Neath Port Talbot could mean 3.75% Council tax increase but no cut in services

Members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet are to be asked for permission to consult on a proposed 3.75% council tax increase, but no cuts to services for next year.

The council has published its draft budget proposals for 2021/22 in a report that will be presented to Cabinet on 13 January.

The report outlines an anticipated £3.235m shortfall for the coming financial year, together with draft proposals to close the gap. These include implementing measures to the value of £135,000 that were agreed last year, using £3.1m from general reserves and consulting on a proposed 3.75% Council Tax increase to balance the budget.

Cllr Carol Clement Williams, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We warmly welcome the increase in the 2021/22 Provisional Local Government Settlement announced by Welsh Government at the end of December. Neath Port Talbot’s share of this is £236.680m, the sixth best in Wales and an increase of £9.9m or 4.2%.

“During a particularly difficult and unprecedented few months for everyone, we have had to adapt the way we deliver our services in light of Covid-19 and this is likely to continue in the coming months. The increase in the provisional settlement means that for the first time in more than 10 years we may be able to exclude proposals for service cuts in our budget proposals, but to do this we would still need a contribution from Council Tax.

“This Council has worked hard to keep the Council Tax increase to the lowest possible level, balanced against the need to provide the services that so many of our residents and businesses rely on.”

The Council gets most of its revenue budget from the Welsh Government, with Council Tax providing approximately 25% of the Council’s total income.

When they consider the report next week, Elected Members will not be asked to make any final decisions, but to give their approval for a public consultation on the draft proposal.

The draft proposals would also see a continued investment in education next year, with provision for an increase in the delegated schools budget of £3.2m to £93.3m, a 3.52% increase.

Subject to approval from Cabinet, the consultation will commence straight after the Cabinet meeting at 2pm on Wednesday 13 January 2021 and run until Friday 12 February 2021.

The Council’s Budget for 2021/22, including Council Tax bands for the county borough, is due to be considered by Cabinet on Monday 8 March 2021, following the public consultation and receipt of the Welsh Government’s Final Local Government Settlement.

(Lead image: Jaggery / Geograph)


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