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Public's view on budget challenge to be sought

Posted on Wednesday 13th December 2017

Newport City Council’s cabinet will consider the budget for 2018-19 at their meeting next week.

The challenge is arguably more difficult than ever as the funding gap continues to widen after several years of government cuts. The council has continued to deliver efficiency savings and provide services differently but this has become increasingly more difficult.

Although savings of £41million have already been made over the last five years, and the council has reduced the number of staff it employs by around one quarter, we anticipate having to make a further savings of at least £30 million by 2022.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “These latest budget proposals show that we continue to put forward responsible and imaginative ways of making savings while trying to protecting essential services and our most vulnerable residents. However, this is becoming more and more unachievable as years of austerity and reducing budgets takes its toll. We simply have a fraction of the money and staff we once had to be able to deliver everything we would want to as a city.”

Cabinet will consider a range of proposals at the meeting on Wednesday 20 December totalling around £7.4 million for 2018-19.

Following the meeting, the proposals requiring cabinet approval or cabinet member approval will go to full public consultation. As the council is committed to being open and transparent, all head of service decisions will also be available to view, although will not be subject to the full consultation.

Consultation will run until the end of January 2018 and all responses will then be considered by cabinet at their February meeting.

One of the proposals being consulted on is to increase council tax by five per cent. Many people don’t realise that council tax only raises around 20 per cent of the annual budget, with funding from Welsh Government accounting for the largest part –almost 80 per cent of the council’s total revenue.

Councillor Wilcox added: “Although a relatively small proportion of our funds come from council tax, we fully appreciate that this is a considerable outgoing for residents, and unlike many other UK authorities we are not proposing a large hike, rather seeking to make efficiencies elsewhere.

“Against a backdrop of having to fund £10 million of unavoidable budget pressures, we feel it is fair that only a quarter of that will be found from council tax with the rest coming from savings.”

You can find out more about the budget process, where the council’s money comes from and view the agenda a papers for next week’s meeting at www.newport.gov.uk/budget

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