In my last blog, I spoke about how the Provisional Local Government settlement for 2020-21 represented the best funding arrangement for 12 years – crucially allowing Local Government to invest in our key frontline services and a range of priority areas after almost a decade of continued cuts from the central UK Government.
At this week’s meeting of the Council’s Cabinet, I will be proposing significant investments in a range of areas, including a £200,000 boost for youth services with an additional £50,000 allocation for youth offending; along with a further £12.7m for schools, which translates to an 8.5% uplift and is a considerable increase on the commitment we made to provide support to our schools in each financial year. In addition to this, I will also be proposing the allocation of £9.3m for Community and Children’s Services, which includes social care, which is a key service under intense pressure from inflationary costs across Wales; and I will also be requesting that the Cabinet agree to allocate funding towards a significant effort to tackle poverty in target areas of the County Borough.
Despite this positive settlement and the additional funding we are able to allocate, we still have a budget gap that we are legally required to address and, as part of the strategy to close this, we are proposing that Council Tax is increased by 2.85% for the 2020-21 financial year. This will represent one of the lowest rises in Wales once again, and will mean that since the start of the current Council term, Rhondda Cynon taf residents will have hadthe lowest average rises in Council Tax of any Welsh Authority.
Our careful management of our finances has allowed us to be in a comparatively strong position where we not proposing a single cut to services and avoiding some of the higher Council Tax increases seen in some other neighbouring Local Authorities.