Posted on: Friday 28 January 2022
Next week Torfaen councillors will examine the council’s latest budget proposals and proposed level of council tax for 2022/23.
The council received a 9.3 percent uplift in funding, equating to £13.5 million, for the next financial year in the provisional settlement from Welsh Government.
The increase means the council is now forecasting a positive financial position of £8.2 million for the next financial year, a swing of £9.7 million from the draft budget in November which predicted a budget shortfall of £1.5 million.
For this reason the scrutiny of the budget has been delayed to give all councillors on the Resources and Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee an opportunity to review the latest budget put forward by the council’s Cabinet committee including a proposed council tax increase of 1.95%. Cabinet have also proposed that council tax is kept low at 1.95% for the following financial year 2023/24.
Councillors will also consider suggested areas for utilising the additional resources from the improved settlement. As well as reducing the proposed increase in council tax from 3.95% down to 1.95%, these include:
- £1.1m towards Covid recovery and hardship
- Additional money to pay the real living wage for Carers
- Additional money for social care providers and fostering services
- Additional money for workforce, transformation and to establish a new service area focused on communities
- A positive funding settlement for Torfaen’s schools, to help learners
Council Leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said:
"I believe our budget proposals are good for all areas of Torfaen. This settlement provides us with an opportunity to plan long-term and to make investments in preventative and early intervention services which tackle issues upstream. If we think long-term, we can also protect the services that covid has shown to be so important, and help our area recover and get stronger post-pandemic.
“If these proposals are approved we can make sustained investment in our critical services including significant increases for social care and school budgets.
“If we look to make quick wins and champion a short-term spending spree, we will not make a difference for future generations.”
Torfaen’s Executive Member for Resources, Cllr Kelly Preston said:
“We have proposed keeping council tax as low as possible for 2 years in recognition of rising living costs and to provide financial certainty for residents. A council tax increase of 1.95% reflects a much better settlement from Welsh Government and the lowest in my time as a councillor.
“This is an increase of around 50p a week for an average (band D) home in the borough. But our spending proposals also help addresses the impact of the pandemic on our communities and starts to redresses a decade of austerity which saw some services cut to the bone.
“While the additional money from Welsh Government allows us to address some critical areas for investment, the budget proposals already included significant increases for Schools and Social Care which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to these vital services.”
To view the report visit https://moderngov.torfaen.gov.uk.