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Public consultation ahead of Cardiff Council budget proposals

Credit: Cardiff Council

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will meet next week to consider a report recommending that public consultation can begin, ahead of proposals for the 2022 / 2023 budget being put forward next month.

It comes after the Welsh Government’s Provisional Local Government Financial Settlement was announced in December, under which Cardiff Council would receive a 10.7% increase in general revenue funding. Although this represents an additional £52.6 million in cash terms, from that, Cardiff Council is required to cover the cost of a number of additional areas of expenditure, including the Real Living Wage in the care sector, National Insurance increases from April, and ongoing COVID-19 related pressures.

At the moment, councils in Wales are able to claim the additional costs and the loss of income associated with the COVID-19 pandemic from a Welsh Government Local Authority Hardship Fund, set-up the 2020/21 financial year. That hardship funding is expected to end this year, and council budgets will need to cover ongoing financial COVID-19 pressures from April onwards.

For the financial year 2020/21, Cardiff Council’s hardship fund claims totalled £47.7 million for expenditure, and £38.2 million for loss of income. For the first two quarters of this financial year, April to November 2021, the council’s hardship expenditure claims total £18.7 million, with income claims standing at £9.9 million.

Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr Chris Weaver, said: “Welsh Government announcing the provisional Local Government Financial Settlement allows us to now move on to public consultation, so that residents can tell us where they want to see the council focussing its resources. The consultation findings will play a key role in us drawing up the details of Cardiff Council’s 2022/23 budget proposals. Those proposals will then be presented to the council’s Cabinet and Scrutiny committees next month, ahead of a vote by Full Council in March.”

Local authority budgets will also need to cover other increasing financial pressures, including the payment of the Real Living Wage in the care sector, announced by Welsh Government in December.

Cllr Weaver added: “This year’s provisional financial settlement of 10.7% for Cardiff is welcome, coming after a decade in which the council has had to find £200m of savings. We are grateful Welsh Government has supported local authorities through the pandemic and in this budget. However, we know that many budgetary challenges still lie ahead, as the city deals with the long-term effects of the global pandemic and increasing financial pressures in other areas, such as the care sector. The Council must therefore continue to strengthen its financial resilience and build a strong budgetary position from which to move forward.

“It is important that we hear from as many people, from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible, to help us draw up our budget proposals for the coming year, and I would encourage everyone to take part in the consultation when it opens.

“Subject to Cabinet approval, consultation will begin on Thursday, 13th January and end on Friday, 4th February. We will be seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders, and we will have a particular emphasis on engagement with children and young people, a move which is consistent with our ongoing work to make Cardiff a Unicef Child Friendly City.”

Full details on how to access the consultation survey will be published following the Cabinet meeting next Thursday, 13thJanuary.

The Welsh Government’s provisional settlement includes initial details of Wales-wide grant funding, including those associated with Welsh Government’s recently announced plan to extend Free School Meal provision; an increase to the Childcare grant; and an increase to the Pupil Development Grant. Further details on how the Wales-wide grants will be allocated to the 22 individual local authorities, including Cardiff Council, are expected to be published by Welsh Government in the coming weeks and months.

In addition to general revenue funding and grant funding, Cardiff’s provisional Capital Settlement is a 2.7% increase in General Capital Funding for 2022/23, or just under £500,000.

The report being considered by Cabinet is available to download in full at