Posted: Sat 20th Jan 2024

Residents in Blaenau Gwent face potential 5% council tax increase as schools brace for £3 million funding cuts

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

A BLEAK financial outlook will see Blaenau Gwent residents facing a potential minimum council tax increase of five per cent from April.
And proposals that will be set before residents show that schools could be a major loser in next year’s budget as they face up to £3 million being cut from their funding.
A council spokesperson said: “Blaenau Gwent council is looking to engage with residents about its budget for 2024/25.
“The council is again facing a range of financial pressures which has resulted in a significant funding gap.
“A series of savings and efficiencies proposals have been put together to try and address the shortfall, which include changes to services, potential income generation and an increase in council tax.”
Next week a series of face-to-face drop-in sessions will be held throughout the county borough that allow residents to have their say on the proposals.
At these events residents will be able to go through the proposed cuts, savings, and income generation ideas for next year’s budget with members of the Labour cabinet and senior staff.
In 2024/2025 the council need to find around £10 million in cuts so that they can balance their books and have listed a number of proposal that people can give an opinion on.
Just before Christmas it was announced that Blaenau Gwent would receive a funding increase of 2.6 per cent for next year – which equates to £3.624 million.
While this was not the lowest rise this time around, the increase was well below the 3.1 per cent funding increase average throughout Wales.
This means that the Welsh Government will give Blaenau Gwent £143 million out of a total of £183 million that the council expects to need next year.
Around 21 per cent or £39.5 million of the budges is expected to be paid by householders in council tax.
The drop-in sessions will held at the council’s Community Hubs in libraries, in town centres and in a local supermarket on:
Monday, January 22, at Ebbw Vale Library Community Hub from 2pm to 4 pm;
Tuesday, January 23, at Brynmawr Library Community Hub from 2pm to 4pm, and at Abertillery Tesco from 6pm to 8pm;
Wednesday, January 24, at Abertillery Library Community Hub from 10am to  midday;
Thursday, January 25, at Cwm Library Community Hub from 2pm to 4pm;
Friday, January 26, at Ebbw Vale Market from 10am to midday;
Monday, January 29, at Tredegar Library Community Hub from 10am to midday;
Friday, February 2, at Tredegar Town Centre, from 10am to midday.
There will also be a live online session at 6pm on Thursday. February 1.
This will be held via Microsoft Teams and the council say that details of how people can register will be “available soon.”
After sifting through the comments a draft budget will emerge.
The draft budget is then expected to be discussed by Cabinet members and probeed by councillors at a meeting of the Corporate and Performance scrutiny committee before going on to be decided at a council meeting on February 27. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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