A near 14 per cent rise in council tax for Ceredigion residents could be cut down to just under 12 per cent, committee members have heard, after extra funding was secured and more savings made.
Ceredigion councillors have been meeting all week to discuss a “nightmare” budget that was set to see a 13.9 per cent increase in council tax for residents alongside deep cuts to services and hikes in charges for council-run facilities.
Scrutiny committees have held a series of meetings to look into the detail of Ceredigion County Council’s draft budget for 2024/25.
It was the last opportunity for councillors to question the cuts and savings before recommendations and decisions are made by the end of February.
Members of the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Learning Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee met on Thursday, 8 February, while members of the Thriving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee met on Friday, 9 February.
At the Thriving Communities committee on Friday morning, Finance Director Duncan Hall told members that a combination of extra Welsh Government funding – which took the uplift in funding from 2.6 per cent to 2.9 per cent – plus a Cabinet proposal to decide on new waste transport contracts on 20 February, will mean that a proposed 13.9 per cent council tax rise can be cut.
Mr Hall told members that planned new contracts for waste transport will save £300,000 if approved, while the restoration of a planned Welsh Government cut to the social care workforce grant will be worth £253,000 to Ceredigion - along with a general uplift in funding of £343,000.
The additional Welsh Government funding follows the UK Government announcing it would be increasing its local government settlement by £600m in England, leading to an extra £25m being allocated to local government in Wales.
The circa £900,000 extra available budget will mean the council tax rise can fall to 11.9 per cent, Mr Hall told members.
Mr Hall said that the 2.9 per cent funding uplift is still “nowhere near what we need” and that lobbying continues to the Welsh Government.
The recommendations from the various scrutiny committees will be discussed for final recommendations by Cabinet members on 20 February.
The final decision on the draft budget will be made at a full council meeting on 29 February.