£24m needed to balance books at Cardiff Council


£24m needed to balance books at Cardiff Council


Cardiff Council will have to find £24m to balance the books next year.

The figure was revealed in the authority's Budget Strategy Report 2018/19 which will go to Cabinet for approval on Thursday, July 27.

The report also reveals that the Council expects to have to bridge a budget gap of £74m over the next three years.

Cabinet member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr Chris Weaver, said: "There's no getting away from it, bridging this budget gap will be very challenging indeed, especially in light of the savings the Council has made over the past few years."

Cardiff Council has had to make £200m of savings in the past 10 years, with £105m in the past three years alone.

Cllr Weaver added: "There are no easy options. This Council has done a remarkable job of protecting residents from the full force of the cuts over the past few years but each year it gets harder and harder.

"We need to continue to modernise the way we work to ensure we deliver the best possible service we can for taxpayers, but we also need to be upfront with residents. There are some services which may have to go or will only be saved through partnership working with residents or other organisations, or finding new ways to cover costs. Austerity has not ended despite what you may have heard on the news, and we face tough times ahead."

The Council's total current budget stands at £587m, but almost 65% of this (£378m) is currently spent on schools and social services. Both areas are facing rising demand pressures as the city's population grows.

There are four things the Council can do to address the budget gap:

• Increase council tax;

• Use reserves;

• Cap schools budget growth;

• Make savings.

Cllr Weaver said: "Each 1% increase in Council Tax raises about £1.3 million, and we have a £24m shortfall this year, so Council Tax alone doesn't cover the gap. We have to find savings and generate income in a range of different ways to set this budget. The level of savings we have to find will impact on our ability to deliver services.

"This report sets out our strategy to set a balanced budget, and we will be working on these plans and consulting with the public later this year before our final decisions next February. That's why it's really important that residents get involved in the budget process and let us know the things that matter to them and where they want to see their money spent in the years ahead."

Residents will be able to have their say on the proposals by responding to budget-related questions in the Ask Cardiff survey over the summer. In the autumn there will be a more detailed consultation once the Welsh Government funding arrangements become clearer.


Editor's Note

The Full Budget Strategy Report will be available on the Council website from 5pm, Friday, July 21st, 2017. Click here to see the full report