Posted: Wed 24th Feb 2016

Budget proposals aims to deliver on residents’ priorities

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2016

SWANSEA Council is set to spend millions of pounds a week supporting local communities, education, social services, improving roads and keeping streets clean if budget plans are approved on Thursday. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The council will be spending around £1.5m a day, working even more closely with residents to ensure the money goes where people’s priorities are. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Over the coming year there’s going to be £1m available for essential school repairs to add to investment in building schools, £2m for a new council house-building programme and £1m for road repairs. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There is also an extra £4m proposed for schools budgets which includes in pupil deprivation grant which means the funding should meet the majority of cost pressures facing schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cabinet has approved the council’s budget for the next financial year and councillors at a full meeting of the authority on Thursday will make the final decision. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An extraordinary meeting of the council has also been scheduled for March 10 to review the budget in the light of the Welsh Government’s local government finance settlement decision due that week. The settlement decision finalises arrangements for the level of government grant each local authority will get in the coming financial year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said that the council was striving to be smarter, leaner and more efficient. He said as much of the annual budget as possible is being spent on front line priorities identified by the people of Swansea. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “We are rising to meet the challenge by continuing our programme of reviewing all our areas of spending – including areas like cultural services, waste management and highways – to see how we continue to ensure every penny that’s spent is used wisely and to the best-possible effect for the people of Swansea.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Stewart said: “Our Sustainable Swansea – Fit for the Future initiative has been widely welcomed because it will help us continue to support vital services by becoming smarter and more efficient. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Despite the budget reductions all councils in Wales are facing, Swansea is in a good position to continue supporting children and older people, tackle poverty and invest in intervention and prevention services which will help save money in the long term.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Following consultation with the public, the council also intends to provide funding so that it can open the Morfa Relief Road a year early, continue to keep its public toilets open, maintain libraries at their current numbers and create community budgets to fund small but much-needed local projects. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There will also be ongoing investment in community transport and tackling littering and dog fouling. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Stewart said: “Thanks to the consultation we’ve done with local people our budget plans have been strengthened. The council is listening to our local communities and by continuing to work closely with them means we’ll be even more focussed on delivering on their priorities every day.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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