Posted on: Wednesday 18 December 2019
A report to the council’s cabinet committee has today (Wednesday 18 December) set out the council’s latest revenue budget forecast for 2019/20 and budget proposals for 2020/21.
The council’s budget proposals have been developed using a number of estimates, assumptions and proposed savings measures to address initial estimated budget pressures of £10 million.
Executive Member for Resources, Cllr Kelly Preston, said: ‘Throughout the year we have been developing detailed financial plans for all services. We’ve asked each department for efficiency savings, in order to balance the budget, while protecting services like schools, social care and a cleaner and greener Torfaen as much as possible.
‘Thanks to an improved Welsh Government budget settlement of 4.5%, we will now have a chance to invest in key services, avoid cuts in areas that would damage services and communities and set services on a more sustainable footing. We can also now help our schools by proposing in this report that their financial pressures of £3.4million will be met by the council.’
The Leader of Torfaen Council, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said: ‘I welcome the improved provisional budget settlement and the prioritisation of local government by the Welsh Government. It won’t make things easy, as the pressure on local services is still great after a decade of austerity, but it will make a real difference in our efforts to preserve critical services, such as schools and social care.
‘We have carefully managed our budgets throughout 10 years of austerity, making efficiency savings year after year. But after a decade of deep and damaging cuts, Councils across the country were rapidly reaching breaking point. I hope this settlement marks the start of a different journey, of reinvestment in our communities and the public services people rely on.
‘This has been another difficult budget given the political uncertainty and at the end of a decade of sustained cuts. But our budget proposals continue to protect schools and social care and will ease pressure in critical services like children’s services.’
Final proposals will be scrutinised in January and considered by cabinet in February, before the final budget and council tax will be approved by full council in March.
Assistant Chief Executive, Nigel Aurelius, said: ‘Although we now have the provisional settlement, which is very positive, the uncertainty surrounding 2020/21 is not over. There is likely to be a UK budget in the near future, and this has the potential to change the picture, so although we have an emerging balanced picture we will need to remain flexible and adaptable to any changes that may occur.’
To view the line by line mitigations search cabinet reports on www.torfaen.gov.uk and to have your say on the budget proposals visit: https://torfaen.dialogue-app.com/budget-proposals-2020-21