Posted: Sat 20th Jan 2024

Residents in Blaenau Gwent to Participate in Survey for 2024/2025 Budget Decisions /

BLAENAU GWENT residents will be allowed to have their say on 2024/2025 budget choices before a final decision is made next month.
As well as face-to-face meetings, residents can take part in an online survey to rate the acceptability of the proposals that are needed to fill a £10 million black hole in next year’s budget.
Last year more than 3,000 people took part in the survey which helped shape the 2023/2024 budget.
This time around the survey starts off by asking people which two council services are the most important – and also to choose the two least important.
It goes on to ask people how “acceptable” it is to put up council tax next year.
They will then be asked which council tax rise “feels right” to them, with the choices ranging from a five per cent increase to an above eight per cent rise.
The council has based their calculations on a Band B property and indicate that a fiver per cent rise equates to residents paying an extra £1.37 a week while an eight per cent rise would cost an extra £2.19 a week.
The council then goes on to asks a number of questions on “what is acceptable” as it prepares to make cuts and reform services.
These have been listed under five categories which are: “School Budgets, Budget Management, Staffing Reductions, Service Change/Collaboration and Income Generation.”
For school budgets the best outcome would be a “flat cash budget” with no increase in funding to schools.
The other alternative is to cut school budgets by either one or two per cent.
This would see school lose £1 million or up to £3 million in funding.
Proposal for staff reduction could produce more than £1 million in savings and includes the review of staffing structures and vacant posts across the council.
The council says this could be done with: “minimal impact on service delivery.”
The proposals for budget management would see cuts of between £3.2 million and £4.2 million across all services.
The council explains this would be done by “financial efficiencies” to be delivered through better budget and contract management, delaying recruitment, and prioritising essential expenditure required to deliver services.
Proposals for service change/collaboration would see between £200,000 and £600,000 saved and include a review of operating hours for recycling centres, and day care services.
Proposals to make money – known as income generation – include increasing fees and charges by at least five per cent and moving towards a full cost recovery model for delivering services.
To have your say – visit the online survey ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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