Extra investment for priority areas as part of Capital Programme

Written by on 2nd March 2022

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet has agreed an additional £14.5m investment for Council priority areas next year as part of its £149m three-year Capital Programme – identifying funding for highways, parks, schools, play areas, EV charging and empty properties.

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday, February 28, Members considered two reports relating to Council spending next year. The first presented feedback from a recent consultation on the Draft Revenue Budget Strategy, which was based on 8.4% increase in funding after a favourable Welsh Government settlement.

Key elements of the Strategy include the most favourable Council Tax position for many years (a 1% increase), increasing the minimum rate of pay above the Real Living Wage, an additional £11.2m for schools and £15m for Social Services, keeping the general fees and charges increases below the rate of inflation, and no cuts to services once more. Following positive feedback to the consultation, Cabinet has now agreed the Strategy, which it will recommend to Full Council on March 9.

The second report considered by Cabinet on Monday outlined a proposed new three-year Capital Programme (2022/23 to 2024/25). It represents a total investment programme of £148.770m and will maintain the Council’s core capital programme, fully-funded at £42.3m across the next three years.

The report also identified additional investment of £14.5m for next year, over and above the normal Capital Programme. This is being funded through reserves which have been set aside for investment in our infrastructure, along with additional resources which have been secured. The identified investment priorities to benefit from April 2022 include:

  • Highways Maintenance – £3m
  • Unadopted Roads – £500,000
  • Highways Structures – £1.5m
  • Llanharan Link Road – £2m
  • Making Better Use/Traffic Developments – £150,000
  • Parks Structures – £500,000
  • Parks and Green Spaces – £2.4m
  • Play Areas – £250,000
  • Schools – £2.571m
  • Empty Properties Grants – £1m
  • Electric Vehicles Charging – £350,000
  • Investment Programme (revenue allocation) – £250,000.

Following Cabinet’s decision on Monday, this Capital Programme will also be considered by Full Council on March 9, along with the Draft Budget Strategy.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said:

“Cabinet considered the Draft Budget Strategy on Monday following the recent consultation. Thanks to a favourable local government settlement, Rhondda Cynon Taf will receive an 8.4% funding increase next year – enabling us to put considerable investment into services. The Strategy has many positives – increasing the minimum rate of pay, and major investment for schools and Social Services, to name just a few.

“This was reflected in the very supportive responses received in Phase 2 of the consultation, held over two weeks in January and February, in which 700 responses were received. This means that 1,700 responses were received over the Budget-setting process, and Cabinet has now agreed to recommend the Draft Budget Strategy to Full Council.

“A key part of the Strategy was identifying a further £4.9m in efficiency savings for 2022/23, above the £4.6m identified for the current year – bringing the total amount saved through efficiencies to around £100m over the past 10 years. This work continues to allow the Council to further invest in priority areas – and the detail of this was considered by Cabinet in a second report on Monday.

“Investment of £14.5m was recommended to be spent on our priorities from April 2022. This includes £3m for Highways Maintenance, £2.4m for Parks, £2m towards the Llanharan Link Road, £1m for Empty Properties – and also further funding for EV Charging, Schools, Play Areas and Structures. All of these funding areas are linked to priorities of our Corporate Plan, and Cabinet has agreed with the proposed investment which will now be formally considered by Full Council on March 9.”

Phase 2 of the Budget consultation ran from January 28 to February 13, 2022. More than 700 people were engaged in this phase of the process, in addition to more than 1,000 people who took part in Phase 1, held during autumn.

Of the online surveys returned, 88.2% of respondents agreed with raising the minimum rate of pay for Council and contracted care staff, and 91.2% agreed with the ongoing prioritisation of Schools and Social Services. The proposed Council Tax rate was considered reasonable by 80.2% of respondents, while 79.8% agreed with the proposals for fees and charges. A full summary of the responses is included as an Appendix to Monday’s Cabinet report.

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