Cabinet will next week consider proposals to set the Council’s 2018/19 budget, which include setting the Council Tax rate for the next financial year. Any decision of the Cabinet will be presented to the Full Council for consideration later this month.
At their meeting on Thursday, February 15, Cabinet Members will discuss an Officer report which outlines recommendations to set a legally balanced budget for Rhondda Cynon Taf in 2018/19 alongside a range of other measures to protect frontline services against a backdrop of continued public sector austerity.
The proposed budget includes an additional £2m for schools in RCT, and takes into consideration efficiency savings of more than £7m – beyond the initial ambitious target of £6m – in order to help protect services. This approach will ensure the Council closes the budget shortfall of £3.8M for next financial year that it consulted upon in the run up to Christmas.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said:
“Cabinet will consider budget strategy options for 2018/19, which will then be considered by Full Council in order to set the Council’s budget for the next financial year. This includes a proposal to increase Council Tax by 3.3% which, following indications from other Local Authorities, again looks to be one of the lowest rises in Wales. We recognise the pressure on everyone's personal finances and that is why we have sought to keep any Council Tax increases as low as we possibly can.
"This year's consultation feedback has seen residents indicate that they are willing to support a small rise in Council Tax if it will support key services and our approach seeks to ensure we can protect valued frontline services from continued public sector austerity.
“Through the tough financial challenges which we face, the Council continues to be prudent in its financial management in order to deliver a balanced budget without significant cuts to services this year. Importantly this approach proposed would allow us to continue investing in key priorities areas which will create and deliver a strong future for Rhondda Cynon Taf.
"The plan proposes the Council extending its already significant level of efficiency savings – going £1m beyond the already-ambitious target of £6m set earlier this year.
"And, while the proposed budget secures the Council’s financial position during this economically challenging time, we remain committed to delivering – and further investing in – key services. Opportunities would continue to be taken to deliver investment in key projects.
“The proposed budget would deliver a £2m cash uplift for schools, which is double the level we have previously committed to deliver.
“The latest investment, announced in November 2017, was the fifth round of capital investment in key priority areas through the #RCTinvest programme. It allocated £7m to improve and invest in a number of areas, including transport links and leisure facilities, and to develop Community Hubs across the County Borough.
“Cabinet recently agreed in principle to a £300m strategic capital investment programme, over and above our normal spending plans, to deliver huge investment in Highways, Schools, Housing and Town Centres over the next five years – representing the largest capital investment in Rhondda Cynon Taf’s history. It would follow on from the #RCTinvest programme, which is making a visible difference across our communities."