Residents now have a second opportunity to share their views on the Council’s 2020/21 budget in phase two of the consultation process – after a draft budget strategy was considered by Cabinet on Thursday.
Phase two of the consultation will now run from January 24 to February 7 – with the Council’s draft budget based on Welsh Government’s provisional Local Government Settlement. It includes an additional £12.7m for schools and £9.3m additional funding for Community and Children’s Services which includes social care – as well as significant extra funding for Youth Engagement, tackling poverty and towards helping local community groups open paddling pools during summer.
The budget also delivers £6m efficiency savings, and proposes a council tax rise of 2.85% – lower than originally consulted upon and likely to be one of the smallest rises in Wales next year. A broader summary is included below.
The first phase of consultation took place during November and December 2019, where residents were asked about Council spending priorities and the delivery of a balanced budget. More than 3,900 people participated in this first phase of consultation.
At their meeting on January 23, 2020, Cabinet Members considered the draft budget strategy alongside feedback from the first phase of public consultation, and agreed the basis on which phase two of the consultation is carried out.
Phase two will include a survey which residents can complete online (at www.rctcbc.gov.uk/consultations). The process will also include youth events held at local schools, and three public ‘drop-in’ events, open to the wider community, at the following venues:
- Canolfan Pennar (Mountain Ash Hub) – January 31 (11am-1pm).
- Rhondda Sports Centre, Ystrad – February 3 (5pm-7pm).
- Pontypridd Town Centre – February 5 (10am-1pm).
The Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee will also discuss the Council’s 2020/21 budget at their meeting on January 29, 2020.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “Cabinet has agreed the draft 2020/21 Budget strategy proposals which will now be the basis of phase two of the consultation, as residents’ views will be a key consideration for us setting a legally-balanced budget in March.
“The Council received a better-than-anticipated level of funding in Welsh Government’s provisional Settlement, with a 4.5% funding increase next year. This has allowed our draft budget to be set with a 2.85% council tax rise – lower than the 3% rise originally consulted upon to protect vital services. Each Welsh council will increase its council tax rate next year, and based on initial indications Rhondda Cynon Taf’s is yet again likely to be among the lowest in Wales.
“Key elements of the draft budget include £6m of efficiency savings, bringing the total figure to around £95m in 10 years. If agreed, the schools budget would also receive an 8.5% increase, while youth services would have a 13% rise. Important funding is also earmarked for the Muni Arts Centre’s reopening and to help community groups open paddling pools in the summer holiday.
“Leisure for Life prices, car parking charges and playing field fees for local sports clubs are all also proposed to be frozen for next year.
“Phase two of the consultation is now underway, and I’d urge residents to take part. The feedback we receive will be a key consideration when this subject is brought back to Cabinet for final determination towards the end of February. Residents can have their say via an online survey or in one of three upcoming public ‘drop-in’ events.”
Key elements of the draft Budget for 2020/21 include:
- A 2.85% Council Tax rise, likely to be the lowest in Wales next year.
- £6m efficiency savings, bringing the total to £95m over 10 years.
- An increase in the Schools Budget of £12.7m (or 8.5%).
- An additional £250,000 (a 13% increase) funding for Youth Engagement.
- £50,000 funding to help local groups open paddling pools in the summer.
- £105,000 to support the Muni Arts Centre’s reopening.
- Freeze on fees and charges for Leisure for Life, Car Parking and Playing Field fees for sports clubs.
- Increase in Meals on Wheels/Day Centre Meals by 10p per meal.
- Increase on School Meals by 5p per meal and then no further increase for two years.
- Increase of adult entrance to Lido Ponty by 50p to £2.50, with children under the age of 16 continuing to benefit from free entry.
- An increase of £9.3m for Community and Children’s Services, including social care.
Posted on Friday 24th January 2020