Council budget pledges extra funds for key services

Posted on Wednesday 14th February 2018

Despite the ongoing challenges of reduced funding for local government, Newport City Council’s Cabinet will inject a further £10m of investment into key services.

Following an extensive consultation with the public and partners, Cabinet today discussed feedback on the draft savings proposals put forward in December and made recommendations for the 2018/19 budget.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of the council, said: “Quite simply we have less money and staff than ever but are still expected to deliver hundreds of services for the city.

“Throughout this process our key focus is always how we can protect essential services and our most vulnerable residents, and ensure the future growth of our city.

“I am proud that despite these considerable challenges we have continued to manage our finances effectively and target resources to the key priorities set out in our manifesto and the corporate plan.

“In particular, we have committed more support for the city’s schools. As well as the additional funding allocated for new schools and making permanent the £1.1m boost awarded last year, Cabinet has also agreed a further £420k be added to the schools budget.”

Cabinet discussed the outcomes of the public consultation and debated the reallocation of some resources as a result of that feedback.

Councillor Wilcox added: “In these times of difficult decisions is so important that we listen to the views of residents, partners and businesses, so I thank everyone that took part in the consultation. We have tried very hard to address some of the issues and needs raised.  

“Unfortunately this is by no means the end of the challenge – we fully anticipate further cuts next year – but we mustn’t lose sight of what has already been achieved.

“In particular, we have delivered savings of £41m over the last five years while still improving services; we have targeted over £30m of investments in front line services over the last four years over and above inflation; and today we have proposed a budget for 2018/19 which includes a further £10m investment into key services while managing the ongoing challenge of an overall funding cut.”

Cabinet also recommended a council tax increase of 4.8 per cent which equates to an extra £48.42 a year or less than 94p a week on a Band D property. Even with this rise, it expected Newport will still have one of the lowest council tax rates in Wales.

The proposed budget, including the Council Tax increase, will now go before full Council on Tuesday 27 February.

Papers from the Cabinet meeting are available online. Minutes will be published in due course.

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