Council recognises challenging year ahead as it considers budget
Posted on Thursday 10th November 2022
The challenges being faced by residents, businesses and individuals will be at the forefront of the council’s considerations as it plans its 2023/24 budget.
Work is currently underway to plan how the most important services will be delivered with Newport City Council facing a budget gap of £33 million.
Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of the council, said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the coming year is going to be challenging.
“Our main aim in setting next year’s budget will be to ensure that the core of our most fundamental services are maintained for residents, but it is unlikely that any service will be delivered as they are currently. We will always aim to support those that need an extra helping hand, but all council services will most likely require some adjustment.
“It will be a very difficult balancing act – the cost of providing services is going up in the same way that everyone’s cost of living has risen. And at the same time, more people are accessing those services, increasing demand. So we will inevitably have a considerable gap between what money we have available to us and what we need and want to spend.
“Local government as a whole is facing the same challenges. And this comes not long after many years of austerity when we faced real-term budget cuts. Newport Council has already implemented over £90m of savings since 2011 – so there are very few choices left to us.”
Examples of the increasing costs and pressures being faced by the council include:
- Increased fuel and energy costs - gas is 300% higher, electricity is 150% higher. This affects everything from schools to streetlights.
- More demand for care - costs have risen from £43.5m in 2019/20 to a forecast £58m this year.
- Around 1,000 more pupils attending Newport schools in the last three years.
- Linked to the challenges of the pandemic, more emergency placements for children looked after. A forecast cost of £2.2m in 2022/23 compared to £300k in 2019/20.
- Inflation rates of around 10% are increasing the cost of all services and supplies bought by the council.
More than three-quarters of the council’s budget is funded by a grant from the Welsh Government, which means the authority is very much reliant on that grant.
The money raised through council tax only accounts for less than one quarter of the council’s budget, but it is recognised that this is a very substantial bill for residents, despite Newport maintain one of the lowest rates in Wales for many years.
Councillor Mudd added: “To give context, this year’s budget for is £343m, so to have to plug a gap of around £33m next year is a huge proportion. Added to that, two thirds of the council’s budget is spent on schools, education and social care.”
A number of proposals will be considered by Cabinet at their December meeting and then put out for public consultation.
For more information about the council’s budget, how we spend our money, the budget setting process for 2023/24 and how and when you can have your say, visit www.newport.gov.uk/budget
Leader Jane Mudd sets out the unprecedented financial challenges facing the city council as the cost of delivering services and the demand on them continues to increase https://youtu.be/Fp8gLuQmhWE