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Residents urged to have their say on council budget proposals

CITY residents are being urged to have their say on Swansea Council's budget proposals for the year ahead.

Swansea Council Logo (Landscape square)

Cabinet has agreed to go out to public consultation on a programme that will see schools, social care for the elderly and support for vulnerable children receive the lion's share of funding in 2020/21.

The council is set to invest £35m into social services, education and local communities in the coming year to help manage a continuing rise in demand for services.

This was going to be achieved by proposals to achieve £18m of savings from current council budgets through efficiencies and service modernisations alongside extra funding from the Welsh Government and other sources.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: "The increase in funding is very welcome but this needs to be a beginning because we need to see similar increases in future years. Then local government will be able to achieve parity in funding with the NHS and, at the same time, be enabled to tackle some of the issues created by years of UK government austerity." 

The extra money represents a 5.5% increase in funding, cash which will be prioritised for education and social services, including £9.7m earmarked more for schools in 2020/21.

Cllr Stewart said: "The Welsh Government has estimated that even with the increase in funding this year, local authorities will still need a contribution from the council tax. We have not made any decisions on the level of council tax for next year but we'll ensure we only raise money where there is a need for further investment in education, social care, child-care or community priorities."

He added: "Next year we will be investing an average £1.7m every day in services that make a real difference to people's lives. That equates to an average of £4,000 for every family in the city.

 "We are already doing more with less because the council has become smarter, leaner and more efficient. We have reduced back-office spending, automated services and cut red tape and that has helped slash the cost of what we do by millions of pounds. By radically changing the way we work we have achieved savings of more than £70m in the last five years.

"This becomes more difficult year on year and despite the welcome increase this year, some very difficult choices about budgets will have to be made. But we are determined to keep on delivering the vital frontline services that people in Swansea want."

The deadline for people to have their say on next year's budget is February 9. Feedback will be taken into account ahead of a finalised budget being offered to Full Council on March 5.

To participate in the budget consultation go to https://swansea.gov.uk/budgetsurvey

Hard copies of the budget consultation will be available in libraries from next week.

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