RCT Council agrees 2024/25 budget strategy

Written by on 7th March 2024

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have agreed the budget for 2024/25. 

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council say that they always take a responsible approach to setting council tax levels, balancing the need to protect key services and residents’ ability to pay. Elected Members agreed to increase Council Tax by 4.99%.

The Council have said that all councils in Wales are facing significant challenges to set a legally-balanced budget. This is based on factors including the high level of inflation, the ongoing Cost of Living crisis, and pressures across key services that must be protected as far as possible – like schools and social services.

Key elements of the budget

The Local Government Settlement provides a 3% funding increase for Rhondda Cynon Taf, leaving an initial budget gap at £36.65 million. Early budget reduction measures and previously agreed proposals reduced the gap to £25.91 million.

The budget sees schools allocated funding to cover all pay pressures in full, and a further £1 million budget provided towards non-pay costs. Over and above this, Cabinet also agreed to allocate a further £500,000 of funding which means that our schools budget will increase by £12.4 million (6.6%) next year.

Senior Officers have identified further efficiency savings of £5.24 million, which can be made without a significant impact upon front line services. The total efficiency savings delivered for 2024/25 is over £13 million.

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

“Elected Members have agreed to next year’s budget strategy, in what is a financially tough outlook for Council’s across the UK, including Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“As a Council, we have had to make difficult decisions to ensure that key services continue to be delivered in a financially sustainable way.

“We have prioritised education to support our youngest residents, with our schools to receive over £12 million more than they did last year.

“We are also increasing funding for social services by over £8 million to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities continue to receive the care and support they need.

“Raising Council Tax is never popular, however, the Council has worked hard to find millions in efficiency savings and new ways of working to reduce the burden on residents. The Council has made over £16 million in efficiency savings over the last year and has now identified a further £13 million as part of next year’s budget.

“Careful financial management has meant that changes to our front line services are relatively small compared to other councils in Wales, and a council tax rise of 4.99% is one of the lowest being set in Wales.

“During the consultation phase, there was general agreement with the budget strategy and an acknowledgement of the tough financial challenges that Council’s across the UK are facing. We thank residents for their feedback during the consultation.

Other measures agreed in the budget strategy include energy efficiency measures and a new income stream from the generation of energy once the Council’s new solar farm becomes operational, and a standard 5% increase in Fees and Charges for Council services, the latter generating £452,000 extra income.

Having factored in all of the above, the remaining Budget gap of £7.5 million for 2024/25 will be covered by the use of reserves that have been set aside for this purpose

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