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Neath Port Talbot residents asked for views on budget proposals

Credit: Neath Port Talbot Council

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet has given the go ahead for the council’s budget proposals for 2021/22 to go out to public consultation.

Among the proposals are plans for no cuts to services for next year and an increase in just over 3.5% in money going to local schools.

The council published its draft budget proposals for 2021/22 in a report that went to Cabinet on January 13th   where the public consultation exercise – which goes on until February 12th this year – was approved.

The report outlined 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 suggested 3.75% Council Tax increase to balance the budget.

Cllr Carol Clement Williams, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said:

“We are consulting on a 3.75% Council Tax increase but that will ensure we’ll have no new service cuts this year and there will be 3.52% extra for schools.”

Explaining the way the council’s funding worked, Cllr Clement Williams said: “We get 25% from Council Tax but the majority of our funding, three quarters, comes from Welsh Government in an annual settlement.”

She added: “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 Welsh Government 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 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.

The consultation will have to be carried out electronically and online this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place in Wales.

Consultation link:  www.npt.gov.uk/consultations