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Breakdown of Cardiff Council’s standout budget proposals revealed

COUNCIL tax and the cost of school meals could be set to increase in Cardiff.

Cardiff Council revealed in its budget proposals for 2023-24 that it will look at increasing council tax by 3.95% and the cost of school meals by 5%.

This is lower than the 10% increase for school meals that the authority put forward in its budget consultation in December.

Other changes to the council’s proposals since then include keeping library and hub opening times the same and keeping the Museum of Cardiff at its current home in the Old Library.

The leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “Almost double the number of people took part in this year’s consultation. I’ve little doubt they were motivated by the cost-of-living crisis and the impact it is having across the nation.

“They wanted this council to know the services that matter most to them and the ones they want us to safeguard. The services that make a difference to their lives, their children’s lives, and their wider families’ lives.

“It was clear that education and help for the most vulnerable, and for those living in our most deprived areas were high on their list. We have reflected on our residents’ views when deciding which consultation options to take forward.”

Cllr Huw Thomas

Here is a breakdown of some of the council’s stand out budget proposals for 2023-24.

Council tax

If the council’s budget proposals are approved, council tax will go up by 3.95%.

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Cardiff Council was initially looking at a funding gap of £53m before it received the news that it would be getting a 9% increase in funding from the Welsh Government.

However, despite the better-than-expected settlement, the authority is still looking at a budget gap of £23.5m.

Most of the council’s annual budget (74%) comes from Welsh Government grant. The remaining 26% comes from council tax.

Education and social care

The majority of respondents to the council’s budget consultation, almost 6,000 people, were in favour of limiting a cost increase for school meals.

Data from the council shows that 30% wanted to limit any increase in school meals to 5%, with 21% supporting a 10% price increase.

As part of the council’s budget proposals, schools would also receive an extra £25m a year.

On the proposed 5% increase for the cost of school meals,  Cllr Thomas said the originally proposed 10% increase was due to rising food costs.

He added: “If agreed by full council, this will mean that we will continue to provide a significant subsidy of this service across our schools.”

Adults and children’s social services could also see a boost in funding, with the council looking at providing an extra £23m as part of its budget.


Cardiff Council will look to keep the Museum of Cardiff open at the Old Library “for now”.

Cllr Thomas said the council will work with trustees of the museum to secure a sustainable future, including looking at options for delivering the service at an alternative location.

The authority was initially looking at turning the Museum of Cardiff, which has called the grade-II listed building on The Hayes its home since 2011, into a mobile attraction.

Cllr Thomas added: “In respect of hubs and libraries, proposals to reduce opening hours and/or close on weekends have not been taken forward.

“Any changes are being limited to removing a small number of long-term vacant posts in the service.”

However, the council said they will continue to consider Academy Music Group’s (AMG) proposal to take over the running of St David’s Hall.

Figures from the council’s six-week consultation also reveal that 59% of respondents supported the proposal to find a new partner to run St David’s Hall, with 26% against.

72% of respondents supported protecting hubs and library services in areas of highest disadvantage.


One of the cost-cutting measures that the council proposed in December was reducing the operating hours of household waste recycling centres.

The majority of respondents (46%) to the council’s budget consultation were in favour of closing recycling centres for just one day a week. A reduction in opening hours was supported by 40%.

As part of its budget proposals, the council will look to close recycling centres on one day of the week.

Other services 

The cost of residential parking permits could be set to go up. Cardiff Council is proposing to increase the cost of first resident permits from £7.50 to £24.

Under its proposal, second resident permits would increase from £30 to £54. The cost of parking at council car parks could also be set to go up.

As part of the budget proposals, pay and display parking would increase by 50p a visit on street and by £1 in council car parks.

Inflationary pressures have also had an impact on the council’s bereavement service, which is responsible for the upkeep of nine sites across Cardiff and the undertaking of over 4,000 funerals a year.

The council is proposing to increase the cost of cremation by 5.1% and burial by 6.8%.

The authority is also proposing to increase the cost of hiring sports pitches by 10%. This could mean a price increase of £5 – £8 per booking.

Commenting on the council’s budget proposals, the council’s cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance, Cllr Chris Weaver, said: “We are really conscious of the cost-of-living crisis, which is being felt by people across the city, but without raising council tax we just wouldn’t be able to safeguard the services that are important to our residents.

“This will be among the lowest increases in council tax in Wales, well below inflation, but it will bring in an extra £6.5m. Crucially, this increase will help us maintain the services our citizens have come to rely on.

“Equally importantly, anyone who is struggling to pay and is eligible will be able to access support through the council tax reduction scheme.

“Of course, this rise in council tax doesn’t mean we won’t have to make savings.

“We will continue to streamline our processes and next year we will make £10.1m in efficiency savings, £4.8 in corporate savings, and a further and £2.8m in service change proposals.

“These savings come on top of over £200m we have cut from our budget over the past 10 years.

“Unfortunately, around 173 posts will be lost across the council, most of these will be made up from voluntary severance and removing vacant roles, but it is very clear to me that austerity is back – although in truth it feels like it never went away.”

The council’s budget proposals will be brought to and discussed at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, March 2. If agreed by cabinet, full council will vote on the proposals on Thursday, March 9.