Swansea residents to have say on spending of extra millions for council services

CITY residents are set to have their say on plans that will see around an extra £15m spent on council services in the next financial year.

Consultation has opened on Swansea Council’s budget proposals that will go to full council for a final decision in March.

Swansea has secured an increase on its budget for 2024/25 from the Welsh Government of around £15.3m or 3.7% which will help the council support residents through the tough times ahead.

However, Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council warned that 22 local councils in Wales were getting only an extra £165m between them this year to spend on services.

He said: “Swansea spends more than this on education alone every year, so this is a very challenging settlement and will mean councils will have little new money to meet the significant rising pay, energy and service costs.”

He added: “Thanks to prudent financial management, Swansea is better placed than most to protect services that residents value most by using some of the reserves we have created over recent years.”

While other councils are consulting on changes including library closures or restricted opening hours and introducing three-weekly bin collections, measures like that are not intended for Swansea.

He said: “It was right that we set aside reserves for a rainy day, and this year it really is monsoon season. The settlement for local government in Wales is very small and will mean all councils will struggle to sustain services.

“We will not hesitate to prudently use some of our reserves to support schools, care services and other key services that people value and depend upon every day.”

He said: “The council will continue to be there for the people of Swansea next year and we’ll continue to deliver on your priorities. Thanks to prudent financial management, Swansea is a relatively strong position which means we will be able to continue to stand side-by-side with the people of Swansea to tackle the cost of living crisis and other major challenges not of our making in the coming year.”

He said: “Our budget proposals this year are based on delivering more with less, alongside prudent financial management and making the most of technology to reduce our costs and support services. We plan to make savings of around £24m to help offset some of our rising costs.

But Cllr Stewart added: “No decisions have been made on our budget proposals yet. We want people to have their say and their views will be taken into account ahead of the council making its final decisions in March.”

On average, the council spends just under £5,000 a year on every household in Swansea. Council tax generated £135m last year, but that is only just enough to cover the cost of social services. The lion’s share of the money the council spends – £386m – comes from Welsh Government grants.

Proposals being consulted on include changes to certain fees and charges based on the idea that they should rise in line with inflation or cover the cost of providing the service. There are also proposals to introduce a termly charge for some non-essential lifelong learning courses.

To have your say on the budget proposals, please go to this link Have your say on the council’s budget – Swansea

The deadline for comments is midnight on February 11.

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