Council leader warns of ‘incredibly difficult position’ following funding announcement
A council leader says the local authority has been put in an “incredibly difficult position” following the provisional financial settlement from the Welsh Government announced last week.
Vale of Glamorgan Council will receive £208.9m in funding for its 2024/25 budget, which it estimates will leave it with a £9.4m budget gap next year.
Councils across Wales were told on 19 December 19, that there would be a 3.1% uplift for local government spending.
Cllr Los Burnett said the settlement, “puts the council in an incredibly difficult position”.
‘Real terms cut’
She added: “A real-terms cut in any circumstances would be challenging to deal with, but when demand for some of our most critical services and the cost of delivering many others is rising very quickly it means that some very difficult decisions will need to be taken.
“The provisional settlement is in line with our financial models and is one that we have been preparing for throughout the year.
“A huge amount of work has been undertaken in recent months and now that funding for next year has been announced we will be able to publish our own budget proposals in January.”
More than half of Vale of Glamorgan Council’s annual budget is made up by the annual funding settlement from the Welsh Government.
The rest is provided by council tax, charges for services, and funding through a proportion of business rates collected across Wales.
Councils across the UK are under continued financial strain due to inflationary pressure, increased wages and increased demand on services.
In July, the council forecast its budget gap for 2024/25 to be £6.4m. This foretasted figure stood at £10.57m in November. It was modelled on a 4.9% council tax increase.
Cllr Burnett said: “Our absolute priority will always be maintaining the services relied upon by our most vulnerable residents.
“We must ensure that children and young people, those with additional needs, and older people continue to receive the care and support that they need.
“This principle was central to our budget strategy for this year and will remain so for 2024/25.
“The Vale of Glamorgan Council has a strong record of finding new and innovative ways to deliver our services.
“We will continue to find new ways of working to deliver on what we know matters to local residents.”
Vale of Glamorgan Council will look to bridge its budget gap through a range of measures including charges for some non-statutory services and changes to council tax.
All proposals, which are yet to be published by the council, will go through a public consultation process in the new year.
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