Carmarthenshire Executive Board recommends improved revenue budget
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board has recommended injecting an additional £1.92million into its revenue budget, with several savings proposals cut following feedback from a public consultation.
Full Council will have the final say on the authority’s budget for 2017-18 when it meets on February 22, however Cllr David Jenkins, the council’s Executive Board Member for Resources, today recommended a number of new amendments to the original budget strategy in response to public concern.
They included reversing a proposal to cut the delegated schools budget, meaning schools in Carmarthenshire will have the same amount of money to spend as this year – this would be achieved by injecting £1.76million into the budget to bring the schools budget back to a cash neutral position.
To support the youth service, savings proposed for Carmarthen’s Quay Centre - where the service was previously provided - have been halved in response to concerns raised, therefore allowing a further £10,000 to be spent on services for young people in Carmarthen.
Proposals to transfer or close St Clears Leisure Centre have been withdrawn, owing to the weight of concern by the local community and county councillors.
Executive Board has also recommended revisiting the £170,000 proposed cuts to voluntary sector grants, proposing instead a cut of £35,000 in 2017/18, with future savings being phased in at £35,000 per annum thereafter.
Making these adjustments to the budget would allow the council to keep a proposed Council Tax increase to 2.5 per cent – a level supported by the majority of people who responded to the public consultation.
The council had carried out extensive consultation with members of the public as part of the budget process, including an online survey, meetings with councillors and trade unions, and feedback from young people in schools through an Insight programme.
“One thing that is generally clear from those who took part in the consultation is that they do appreciate that difficult choices need to be made,” said Cllr Jenkins.
“A range of factors, including a positive settlement from Welsh Government has allowed us to review the efficiencies proposed and respond to the consultation comments.
“If Full Council supports our recommendation, we will deliver a sustainable and viable budget strategy which will respond to consultation concerns; ensures as far as possible that service levels and standards are maintained; recognises that our citizens are finding it hard in the current climate; and as far as possible prepares this authority for any future reductions in funding that may lie ahead.”