Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet has voted to recommend a budget to full council that for the second year running requires no rise in Council Tax and no cuts to front line services. The proposed budget will be presented to full council on Thursday 28th February.
Cllr Phil Murphy, MCC’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said:
“This year’s budget round has been conducted in very challenging circumstances - against the background of increased pressures, rising costs and reducing scope for savings in departments that have already suffered considerable constraints over the years.”
“Senior Officers and their teams have done an incredible job on meeting the challenge and Members and the Public alike have had several opportunities to be briefed and to comment on the proposals to meet the gap. There have been two Member seminars; all Scrutiny Committees have been consulted at least once and there have been Public and Business consultations as well as information on the web site and through social media.”
As a result of consultation, the proposed budget does not include the suggested increase in car parking charges. These will be reviewed when our Economic Development Select Committee concludes its review on the issue later this year.
The Council would be able to deliver this budget through innovative approaches to our work. The Authority has embarked on service re-design, including Systems Thinking reviews and re-training of staff in innovative skills. Because of this approach, we have been recognised internationally as being in the forefront of innovation and held up as a model to be followed. Our success in being selected as one of only 6 of the UK’s NESTA Creative Councils and the benefits being derived from it are evidence of that.
Cllr Murphy added:
“The problems faced this year are only a rehearsal for the years to come, with some 90% of the cuts that Unitary Authorities will suffer still to be managed. Indeed our Medium Term Financial Plan indicates that over £16 million has to be found and or saved over the four years reflected in the Plan. In summary, this budget includes the following points;
· There are no cuts to frontline services, although there may be changes to the way that they are delivered.
· Whilst other Authorities are closing libraries we are supporting ours. We are building a new one and have re-furbished others.
· Leisure Centres, closing in many areas of the UK, are being invested in to increase their appeal and income streams
· Support for business and investment will continue with CMC2 and Adventa and associated initiatives.
· The commitment to our 21st Century schools programme is on track.
· Our Capital programmes are still going ahead.
· We are increasing the fees paid to adult care facilities
· There are no changes to the terms and conditions of Officers
· There are no plans for compulsory redundancies
· We are spending an extra £ 0.7 million in schools
· An extra £ 0.76 million on social care
· We have agreed to employ additional social workers to work with the needs of children
· Council tax has been frozen for the second year running”