Home » Cardiff Council approves 6% council tax rise
Cardiff Politics South Wales

Cardiff Council approves 6% council tax rise

COUNCIL tax in Cardiff will rise by 6% and black bin bag collections will be less frequent.

Cardiff Council voted through a number of proposals as part of the 2024-25 budget at a full council meeting on Thursday, March 7.

The council tax rise and one black bin bag collection every three weeks, along with increased charges for school meals, burials, car parking, sports pitch hire and other proposals are aimed at closing a budget gap of more than £30m.

However, the budget did not go through without opposition after two proposed amendments from political groups across the chamber were voted down.

The Conservatives group’s alternative budget, introduced by Councillor Calum Davies proposed a 2.98% council tax rise instead, which would have been funded by council reserves.

Cllr Davies said: “Yes, we have dipped into reserves… but it is for a rainy day and it is raining.

online casinos UK

Other proposals in the alternative budget included not charging doctors and carers for parking permits; moving money from cycle lane development to filling in potholes, fixing pavements and focussing on bus infrastructure; and opposing black bin bag collections moving to once every three weeks.

The group’s leader, Councillor John Lancaster, said he was glad to see original plans to remove public bins from residential streets dropped, but said it was “frustrating” the black bin bags proposal was still on the table.

He said: “Residents will be able to see clearly that Conservative plans do not cut back on our core services, do provide positive solutions to our city’s transport issues, and aims to keep as much money as possible in people’s pockets, rather than see how much can be taken out.”

Cllr John Lancaster – Cardiff Council ward member for Lisvane and Thornhill and leader of the Conservatives group (Pic: Ted Peskett)

The Liberal Democrats group was just as critical of plans to use reserves to cut council tax as the Labour group, with the leader of the former, Councillor Rodney Berman, calling the idea “irresponsible”.

The Liberal Democrats proposed a higher council tax increase than the Conservatives, but slightly lower than Labour, at 5.49%.

They also proposed investing an extra £1m in school budgets; reversing a proposed cut in park rangers; investing an extra £100,00 in street cleansing; investing an extra £150,000 in parking enforcement; investing an extra £2m in road resurfacing; and bringing forward the Pentwyn Leisure Centre refurbishment investment to the 2024-25 financial year.

Group leader of the Liberal Democrats group at Cardiff Council, Cllr Rodney Berman (Pic: Rodney Berman)

Councillor Joe Carter, who proposed the alternative budget at full council, said: “Our amendment to the budget shows that the council can find more efficiency savings and deliver more for our community, without needing to increase council tax by 6%.

“Cardiff Liberal Democrats will put our children first, reduce school deficits and raise council tax by less as well.”

The council’s cabinet member for finance, Councillor Chris Weaver, called the 2024-25 budget the hardest he has had to set during his time as a cabinet member.

A number of factors are responsible for the financial difficulties council’s across the UK face at the moment, including high inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and an increased demand on services.

Describing the context of the budget as unpleasant, Cllr Weaver added the “disastrous” mini budget of Liz Truss’ government “still wreaks havoc in our economy”.

Cllr Weaver added: “The main way we close the funding gap is through savings. The majority of these relate to back-office efficiencies and corporate savings, which make minimal impact on services.

“But, with a gap of this size, these alone are simply not enough, and we consulted on a range of frontline service change proposals at the start of this year.”

The council is also putting money into certain areas as part of its budget, like a £12.8m cash increase to schools.

More than £4m of extra funding is also being put towards central education budgets and there is a £10.8m increase to children’s services.

Cllr Weaver added: “We also protected youth services – proposing no cut to their budget at all.

“These are Labour values, protecting these critical services as best we can.”

Cllr Chris Weaver (Pic: Cardiff Council Website)

As part of the council’s budget, the cost of school meals will go up by 10p rather than the originally proposed 30p.

Sports pitch costs will go up by 10%, out-of-hours burial fees will be set at 10%, and the hours at hubs and libraries will be reduced rather than close for a day a week.

Hubs and libraries will stay open for one hour less, from 9am-6pm to 9am-5pm.

These libraries and hubs include Central Library Hub, Canton Library, Cathays Heritage and Branch Library, Radyr, Penylan Library, and Rhiwbina, Rhydypennau and Whitchurch Hubs.

They will also open one day a week from 10am-6pm. This is currently 10am-7pm one day a week.

As part of its budget, the council also reaffirmed its commitment to its 2023-24 to 2027-28, five-year capital spend programme.

Its largest commitments in that include a £716.3m investment in social housing, £234m on new school builds and £215.5m on developments like the international sports village and a new 15,000-capacity indoor arena planned for Cardiff Bay.