Cabinet recommends budget to council
Posted on Monday 22nd February 2021
Newport City Council's cabinet today approved budget proposals for 2021/22 including a recommended council tax increase of 3.7 per cent.
The budget for the next financial year is based on the Welsh Government draft settlement as the final settlement is not due until 2 March - the day before council will set its budget.
Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, said: "I appreciate that we had a more positive settlement than expected based on our growing population and I'm pleased the Welsh Government delivered on its commitment to social care and education.
"It must be recognised that demands on our services continue to rise and, in real terms, our funding is still less than it was more than a decade ago as a result of many years of austerity.
"However, while we have to make savings, I also wanted to invest in the city and its residents.
Newport, like many other places, is in a fragile position because of the pandemic and the very necessary restrictions that has brought. Helping Newport to recover is a priority as that will benefit residents, our local businesses.
"This is a budget for a responsible recovery; a green and just recovery that prioritises people and invests in place.
"The cabinet and officers have worked extremely hard and I believe we have struck the right balance.
"I would also like to thank everyone - including residents, businesses, trades unions, the Fairness Commission - who took part in the consultation. We had a good response despite the restrictions and the proposals were mainly met with approval.
"When I became leader, I promised to listen and that is what I, and my cabinet, have done. We understand that some people are struggling financially at the moment and the biggest response was to the planned council tax rise even through bills in Newport would still have been among the lowest in Wales and possibly the UK.
"We are recommending to full council that council tax next year should rise by 3.7 per cent instead of the proposed 5 per cent. This will mean we have £9 million less in funding than the Welsh average but I feel it will help many people, who do not qualify for council tax benefits, at this difficult time.
"The only other proposal that also met some opposition was a charge for some non-household waste items deposited at the household waste recycling centre so we have decided to withdraw it.
"We are proposing to invest significantly in social care for both adults and children because looking after the most vulnerable members of our communities is so important.
"We want to provide more training opportunities, including apprenticeships, for residents and there will be a key focus on sustainability and decarbonisation initiatives as well as projects to improve the local environment.
"Our city centre has faced increasing challenges and the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on some businesses. We must remember that it is not just about challenged businesses and empty shops - many people have lost their livelihoods and that is the very human cost.
"For this reason, we want to set aside funding that will be used for key regeneration projects as part of a wider package of investment to support of the city's future economic development.
"We want to help build a brighter future for Newport and we cannot stand still but look forward with positivity. I hope the council will be able to support this budget and its commitment to improve the city and the lives of our residents."