Public urged to have a say on council spending priorities
Posted on: Friday 06 January 2023
Residents and businesses in Bridgend County Borough are being urged to have their say on the council’s spending priorities as the authority finalises its budget for the 2023-24 financial year.
A public consultation which opened on 19 December is aiming to gather as many public views as possible from people across the county borough to help shape important budgetary decisions.
Bridgend County Borough Council provides a vast range of services from residential and nursing care for the elderly to schools, parks, leisure centres, libraries, children’s social services and many more. The total net amount used to run these services annually is almost £460m.
Although this is a significant sum, it has not kept pace with the rate of inflation and the increasing demand for services over the last ten years due to UK Government’s policy of austerity.
We know that households across our county borough are facing stark financial challenges. Rising prices make this a cost-of-living emergency. The council is also facing its most difficult budget pressures for many years. All local authorities are having to deal with large increases in inflation that are driving up costs and prices for energy, fuel, and materials. For 2023/24, we are facing significant budget pressures of at least £20m.
Every year we work hard to proactively ensure we use the money and resources available to provide the right level of services our residents and businesses need. We have had to make some difficult decisions again this year, and it remains a challenging time as we continue to face uncertain financial pressures. Despite a better than anticipated settlement from Welsh Government for next year, our budget proposals for 2023/24 will still include the requirement to make savings of over £3.5m and we are not able to fund all the budget pressures identified.
The council is on the frontline of supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities. We are committed to helping them and their families but, as the cost of providing services rises and government funding fails to keep pace with inflation, we face tough choices.Council leader, Councillor Huw David
Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Hywel Williams said: “The reality of our current situation is that the amount of money made available to us is not matching the increase in costs and increase in demand for services.
“This has left us in a position where we need to find new and innovative ways to provide the services that residents want within more limited resources.
“That’s why we’re asking the public what they think our priorities should be in 2023-24 and the years ahead.
“Sharing your opinion helps us as a Council and Cabinet to ensure we make informed decisions about how and where money is spent in the county borough as well as ensuring that our community services work effectively and efficiently.
“We have also introduced a new platform for this year’s consultation called ‘Engagement HQ’ which also enables you to post your ideas and comments on the live platform for others to view. You can also take part in polls on specific areas of the consultation.”
To make your views known about the 2023-24 council budget, you can find the consultation at www.bridgend.gov.uk The survey closes on the 22 January 2023.