Posted: Sat 15th Oct 2016

Partners Come Together To Discuss Council Budget /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Oct 15th, 2016

Around 70 community representatives from across Neath Port Talbot have taken part in a partnership event to discuss how the Council might meet its predicted budget shortfall for 2017/18 and beyond. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the event, the Council’s Director of Finance outlined the position facing the Council over the next 3 years. Attendees were then asked to debate a set of recently published draft budget proposals, assess the likely impact of these and identify any alternative proposals that the Council could consider. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Discussions centred around 6 themes, including Adult Social Services and Housing, Children’s Social Services, Schools and other Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning, Environment Services and Corporate activities. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The event was part of a three month consultation that the Council is undertaking on its draft budget proposals. Residents, businesses, community groups and other organisations in Neath Port Talbot are being encouraged to have their say up until 28th December 2016. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Council Leader, Ali Thomas said: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Since 2010 we have removed around £72 million from the Council’s revenue budget. That illustrates how difficult it has become for us to meet the growing expectations of our communities on the one hand, whilst shrinking the resources available to respond to that demand on the other. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I was glad to see representatives from more than 30 organisations come together to share their ideas today. We need to find even more innovative ways of responding to community needs as we move forward. Focusing on cuts alone is not enough”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Hywel Jenkins, Director of Finance added: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Based on current estimates, this council faces a budget shortfall of some £11.2 million in 2017-18 and £25m million over the period 2018-20. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Feedback from this important event will inform the officer advice given to Elected Members later in the autumn and in the New Year when the Council’s budget for 2017-2018 is finalised.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the end of the event, a summary of the key comments and suggestions from each table were fed back. Some of the main themes were the need to join up more services within the council and in partnership with other organisations and groups, the need to remove any duplication from the system, the need for more Early Intervention and Prevention in to reduce the demand on more high end social care and health services and the need to generate more income to offset cuts. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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