Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet will meet on 5th January 2022 to consider its budget strategy for 2022/23.
More than ten years of government imposed austerity has seen all councils having to take difficult decisions to cut services to balance the books whilst also trying to keep council tax increases as low as possible.
Now, the 8.8% increase in the Revenue Support Grant and financial support for the pandemic response given by Welsh Government will enable the council to adopt a different approach. The financial position will also enable the council to respond to what residents and local businesses have said is important to them during the recent Let’s Talk campaign.
Amongst proposals to be considered by the Cabinet is a freeze on council tax for the next 12 months in recognition of the financial hardship being experienced by many households across the county borough.
The proposed budget strategy also sets out a package of investments that will:
- Increase support for schools to further improve standards of education across the county borough and to provide more support for pupils with additional learning needs;
- Provide additional support for the wellbeing of children and young people to help them deal with the impact of the pandemic;
- Support for the social care workforce, including provision to ensure social care workers receive at least the Real Living Wage. The number of local area co-ordinators will also increase to strengthen support for vulnerable people across the county borough and links with the voluntary sector;
- Enable an increase in the council’s neighbourhood teams as part of a drive to ‘catch up, clean up and green up’ towns and villages;
- Extend digital services to make it easier for people to get the information and services they need;
- Increase capacity to work with inward investors and to help local businesses and local people benefit from the new jobs being created in the county borough;
- Enable greater focus to be given to protecting the environment, contributing to the government response to the climate and nature emergencies;
- Enabling more priority to be given to the Welsh language, local heritage and culture
It is proposed that the budget be consulted on for a four-week period commencing 5th January 2022.