Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet members have recommended a council tax increase of 5.8% in order to protect a number of services that are important to the county’s residents.
As the grant that Gwynedd Council receives from the Welsh Government is not sufficient to meet the increasing cost of delivering local services such as social care and education, the Council is facing a funding gap of nearly £13 million in 2019/20. This follows many years of cutting back on expenditure and implementing financial savings across the authority.
In order to address this funding gap for the next 12 months, the Cabinet has recommended that the Council realises savings that are already in the pipeline worth £2.45 million, as well as other arrangements to close the funding gap.
The Council has identified ways of introducing further savings of £2.73 million and is hopeful that these steps won’t have a negative impact on the people of Gwynedd.
Following a series of public consultations and councillor workshops, the Council’s Cabinet has proposed that the remaining funding gap is addressed by implementing savings and increasing the Council Tax by 5.8% in 2019/20.
As well as protecting education and care, the Cabinet’s recommendation will mean the Council avoids implementing the following savings:
- reducing the mobile library service
- cutting the library services to schools
- reducing the budget of the books fund
- the free Christmas parking scheme over the Christmas period
- reduce the financial support provided to Women’s Aid
- charging residents a fee for supplying bins that have been damaged
- reducing the strategic grants to the arts
- reduce the contribution to the Youth Justice Service
Councillor Peredur Jenkins, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Finance: “Following years of insufficient funding from the government, the financial situation facing the Council is extremely challenging.
“After a thorough engagement and consultation Process, along with workshops with members across the Council, we have listened carefully to the comments presented. We are therefore recommending a budget that balances the need to address the funding gap whilst protecting services that are important to the people of Gwynedd.
“The financial strategy for 2019/20 is the result of firm financial arrangements and long-term planning.
“Despite the significant challenges, it appears that the Council Tax increase in Gwynedd will be amongst the lowest in north Wales and we anticipate will be below the average for Welsh councils.
“However, it is quite clear that we are reaching the end of our ability to protect local services and we again call on the Welsh Government to ensure that councils receive the funding they need to deliver important local public services in the future.”
A Council Tax increase of 5.8% would equate to an annual increase of £75.69 for an average (Band D) property, or £1.46p per week.
All Gwynedd councillors will decide on the authority’s budget at a full Council meeting on 7 March.