December 19, 2012
Cabinet to consult on budget proposals
Newport City Council’s cabinet met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss the council’s budget and medium term financial plan.
There were a number of difficult decisions to be made as the council needs to make savings of £8.4m in next year’s budget. At the meeting cabinet agreed investments as well as the savings options which will now go to public consultation.
Leader of Newport City Council, Councillor Bob Bright, said: “There is real pressure on the council’s budget and while we have to make significant savings, we will maintain key services to the public, continue to improve how services are delivered and fund key priorities.
“The council has made considerable savings over the past few years but we need to make even more – and those decisions are getting harder and harder. Each area of the council has put forward suggestions and we now want members of the public to have their say. It is important that we make the right decisions and the views of our residents are vital to this process.
“Many of the proposed savings reflect the fact that we’ve had to look again at the non-essential services we provide. We would prefer to continue delivering everything that the council currently offers, but the fact is our budgets just won’t allow it – we have to focus on those most important to the welfare of our residents.”
The council has received an increase of £3.7m in its local government finance settlement, but this has to cover inflationary price increases and pressures on service delivery, and does not meet the rising costs it is facing.
The next financial year will also see the introduction of major changes to the Council Tax benefit system and while the impact on the budget is not yet confirmed it is expected to be considerable and another pressure for the council.
“There is a huge demand on our budget and it is important that we get our priorities right which means protecting front line services including education and social services.
“As a fair and transparent council we feel it is important that we listen to what our stakeholders have to say which is why we are running a period of consultation for eight weeks.”
For more information on the proposed budget savings and to take part in the consultation visit www.newport.gov.uk/budget
Consultation will run from 19 December until 13 February. The feedback from the consultation will be considered at a cabinet meeting on 18 February and a final budget will be submitted to full council on 26 February 2013 where council tax will also be set.