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Vital services set for cash increase as part of council budget

VITAL services such as education, social care, highways and housing are all set for a cash boost when the council's budget is discussed next week.

Swansea Council Logo (Portrait)

The measures in the budget will help improve the lives of families across every community in Swansea as they benefit from revenue spending of more than £400m in the coming financial year.

The council's Cabinet is also being asked to approve more than £200m of capital funding for a new generation of modern schools, to build new council homes and upgrade hundreds more.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council said: "We've listened to the views of the people of Swansea and our proposals will make a real difference to services most valued by families in our communities.

"This budget will mean the council will be spending an average £1.6m a day on services that will touch all our citizens and communities in the year ahead."

Among key proposals in the budget report

  • Additional cash investment in education of £3.5m to help deal with school spending pressures.
  • A boost of £2.7m to help manage rising demand for social care services
  • There will be around £150m earmarked for more 21st century schools
  • More than £57m will be spent on new council housing and a council house kitchen and bathroom replacement programme designed to bring them up to the Wales Housing Quality Standard - paid for from rents, not council tax.
  • £1.4m extra in capital funding to help maintain city roads and traffic management

In addition to the budget report news, the council announced last December that £6m is also being spent on a new fleet of leased recycling and waste vehicles to improve recycling services across the city.

Cllr Stewart said: "Nobody should be in any doubt about the challenges we and all councils face. The UK Government's austerity programme shows no signs of ending, meaning services people rely on everyday will continue to face huge pressures.

He said that since the report to Cabinet in December there have also been a number of further spending pressures like the loss of specific grants, additional costs for residential care and other services pressures.

In addition to them, the anticipated 2% plus pay award for staff - which the Council supports but has had no new money to fund it - means the savings target for next year has moved from £22m to £28m.

Cllr Stewart said: "Unless UK Government end austerity, allowing the Welsh Government to fund education and social care on the same basis as health, then in the coming years we could have to save another £70m."

Cllr Stewart added: "Our consultation with the public has helped to strengthen our proposals, helping to ensure we direct our resources to the priorities of the people of Swansea.

"The planned increase in council tax will be around 90p a week for Band B council taxpayers, generating £4.9m that we will put directly to meet the increased investment in education and social services.

"We're doing all we can to support hard-working families and deliver the kind of city we all want for our children, the elderly and vulnerable.

During the consultation period the council received more than 1,000 responses and petitions about its proposals. The council also staged a consultation session with 80 pupils from city schools to get their views on a range of issues.

 

Among savings proposals and income opportunities identified are:

  • £400,000 in extra rent, including rent from the Liberty Stadium
  • Staff savings of £200,000 due to mobile working
  • £1.1m increase in commercial income
  • £1.5m in savings from corporate services management review
  • £120,000 savings in council vehicle fleet management
  • £250,000 in senior staff savings in 'Place' directorate
  •  

If Cabinet approves the report on February 15, it will go to Full Council on March 1 for a final decision.


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