Budget: Shaping Bridgend's Future 2024-25
As in previous years, we need to identify significant cuts, currently almost £20m. We need to achieve this by reducing our spending and/or increasing our income, to ensure we’re able to set a balanced budget in February 2024.
This means that difficult decisions will have to be made for next year’s budget and it is inevitable that we are going to have to look very closely at everything we do and determine if it’s sustainable to continue doing it in the same way moving forward.
We also need to review the level and frequency of some services and look at whether there is a need to increase or introduce charges.
You can view more information about our budget in our Budget Book, which summarises our revenue and capital budgets for 2023-24, together with other financial information.
- Welsh Government Revenue Support Grant and NNDR: £203M
- Non Domestic Rates (NDR): £47M
- Council tax: £92M
The total of these funds the council’s net budget: £342M
The council also receives other funding which enables it to provide additional services:
- Specific grants: £81M
- Fees charges and other income: £46M
- Other Grants and Contributions: £13M
Total other income: £140M
Total Funding: £482M
The council delivers or enables over 800 services to local people. These services are grouped together into four directorates:
- Education (which includes schools and family support)
- Social services and wellbeing
- Chief executives
Services range from education and social services for children and older adults requiring support, supporting people who are homeless through to implementing regeneration projects and school modernisation programmes.
Frequently Asked Questions
The money that councils spend on the day to day running of services is called the Revenue Budget. This includes expenditure on staff salaries and wages, payment to suppliers and running costs of property e.g., energy costs, maintenance.
Councils in Wales have three main sources of funding:
- government grants – specific grants from Welsh Government to fund local services.
- business rates / non-domestic rates– a property tax levied on business premises.
- council tax – a property tax levied on residential properties.
The council gets the majority of its funding from Welsh Government through the Revenue Support Grant and a share of Non-Domestic Rates (NDR). It supplements this through council tax collection and from charging for some services.
The council must set its budget by 11 March each year for the following financial year, 1 April to 31 March.
Local authorities are required by law to have a balanced budget i.e. a financial plan based on sound assumptions which shows how income will equal spend over the short- and medium-term. Plans take into account funding from Welsh Government and council tax payers, as well as unavoidable budget pressures that the council is facing. Ways of balancing the budget include:
- Reducing spend (making savings)
- Increasing income for some services by raising fees and charges
- Reviewing the level of council tax
When we use the term ‘savings’ we mean the services’ budget has been reduced. For example, if a service originally cost £10,000 to run and we now only have £8,000 to run this service then we need to make a ‘saving’ of £2,000. This will require us to reduce spend on that service.
Reserves are money that has been put aside to pay for something in the future or for emergencies.
There are two types of council reserves:
- Earmarked reserves – these are already committed to be spent on specific schemes or projects.
- General reserves – these are for responding to unexpected events and it is prudent to keep a certain amount of funding for these eventualities.
Whilst reserves can be used to fund a shortfall on a short-term basis, they cannot be used to fund continuing spend e.g., staffing costs, as they are one-off amounts of funding. Once they are spent, the council would be exposed to the risk that if some serious unexpected expenditure is necessary, there won’t be any funding available for it.
Non-Domestic-Rates (NDR), also known as business rates, are taxes on businesses which help to contribute towards the costs of local authority services. Business rates are based on the rateable value of your business, which is determined by the Valuation Office Agency. Your business rate is calculated by taking the Rateable Value (RV) of your property and multiplying it by the current non domestic rates 'multiplier', The multiplier is set by Welsh Government each year and for the 2023-24 financial year the multiplier is 0.535.
Local authorities collect non-domestic rates from business owners but these amounts are then pooled centrally by Welsh Government before being redistributed by Welsh Government to local authorities based upon population.
Welsh Government has a number of schemes in place that allows certain businesses to claim a reduction on the amount they pay. These include Small Business Rates Relief or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief. The council can advise you if you are eligible for such discounts.
The capital programme contains all the Council’s capital budgets, which are schemes for acquiring or improving assets. Examples include building new schools, major refurbishments or resurfacing the highways. This is longer term than the Revenue Budget and is funded differently. The capital budget is mainly funded from capital grants from Welsh Government, through borrowing (within strict parameters set by government) or from capital receipts. Capital receipts are the proceeds from the sale of assets and can only be used to either repay debt or to support the capital budget.
Legally we are not allowed to use capital receipts, specific capital grants or borrowing to pay for day-to-day services.
For example, if we were to sell Civic Offices, the money received would be a capital receipt and could only be used to repay debt or for the capital budget. It could not be used for general running costs of social care or libraries or other services.
In England, the band a property falls into is based on values of properties in 1991, whereas in Wales, revised property values were introduced in 2003 (12 years later), so the relative values of different properties will have changed significantly.
Welsh Government are looking at different ways of bringing their council tax system up to date and are currently consulting on a number of new approaches. The consultation ‘Consultation on a Fairer Council Tax’ closes on 6 February 2024.
You can find out more about the consultation on the Welsh Government’s website
Every new home built requires additional services to be provided, i.e. more waste to collect, more streets to maintain, more school spaces could be needed, greater demand on social services, more voters to register etc, all of which the council must provide and which puts more pressure on the council budget. Whilst more houses generates more council tax, the Welsh Government takes into consideration how much council tax we can potentially collect when it sets our funding levels, and reduces their contribution accordingly.
The band D equivalent is a standard measure of council tax and is used by all local authorities and Welsh Government.
Every domestic property in the county borough has been valued by the Valuation Office Agency. Once valued, properties are allocated one of nine valuation bands (Bands A to I). Each band is multiplied by a given factor to bring it to the Band D equivalent. For example, one band H property is equivalent to two band D properties, because a taxpayer in a band H property pays twice as much council tax, as outlined below.
The table below shows the number and percentage of dwellings by property band in Bridgend County Borough in December 2023.
Number of dwellings
% of dwelling in band
The council tax you pay is not calculated on the basis of which services you actually receive or use, but it contributes to the budget the council needs to provide hundreds of different services* to the residents of the county borough. Your council tax funds around 20 per cent of the total council budget.
* These include:
Recycling and waste collections
- Street lighting
- Social services
- Highways and highway maintenance
- Grass cutting in parks, playgrounds and open spaces
- Leisure centres
- Planning advice
No. The average band D council tax for Wales for 2023-24 is £1,675, which was an increase of 4.9 per cent compared to an all Wales average increase of 5.52 per cent.
In 2023/2024 the council tax due for collection excluding the precepts collected for other bodies such as the Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales and local precepts was approx. £92m and the funding for schools alone amounted to around £114,000.
There are 20 town and community councils across Bridgend County Borough. They provide or maintain a range of local community services.
The services each town and community council delivers/maintains is different based on the needs of each individual town or community. Some of the services provided by town and community councils include:
- maintaining buildings and/or community centres,
- refurbishment of local bus shelters and benches,
- provision and maintenance of flower beds,
- refurbishment of play areas, provision of community notice boards,
- maintaining footpaths,
- Remembrance Day events,
- Christmas decorations, and many more.
Each town and community council sets a ‘precept’ each year to deliver local services, the amount of precept charged by your local town or community council is shown on your overall council tax bill. Bridgend county borough council collects the precept and then pays the town and community councils their share.
The overall responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to maintain an effective and efficient police service by holding the Chief Constable to account. The Commissioner supports the Chief Constable in making South Wales Police the best at understanding and responding to our community’s needs, and plays a leading role in community safety and crime reduction. Duties include setting the local policing priorities, scrutinise, support and challenge the performance of the force and set the annual police budget and council tax precept.
The Police and Crime Commissioner sets a ‘precept’ each year, the amount of precept charged is shown on your overall council tax bill. Bridgend County Borough council collects the precept and then pays the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
We continue to work with residents who may be struggling to pay and would urge anyone who is struggling to pay to contact us. We are trying to make it easier for residents to pay their council tax by promoting My Account where you can easily pay your council tax online.
No, all staff must pay council tax.
Council tax payers on a low income, or those who receive qualifying benefits may be entitled to some help towards paying council tax.
You can also opt to pay your council tax over 12 months instead of 10, or as many months that remain in the year up to March 2024. If you want to change your method of payment or set up payments over 12 months.
The easiest way to pay your council tax is to sign up to My Account. My Account is a personalised service for Bridgend County Borough residents. Registering is quick and easy and all you need to get started is an email address. Using My Account to submit your forms means we receive them immediately, which saves you time and money.