CARDIFF Council is proposing to introduce and increase a number of charges and fees in order to save tens of millions of pounds.
The proposals, published earlier this week, include plans to increase car parking charges, charge for garden waste collections and increase the cost of school dinners.
They are part of the council’s 2024/25 budget plan and will go out to public consultation on Monday, January 8.
Like other councils across the UK, Cardiff Council is getting set to meet another financially challenging year, with high inflation, pay pressures and increased demand on services leaving it to deal with a £30m budget gap.
Here is a more in depth look at some of the charges that Cardiff Council is looking at bringing in and how much they could go up by.
The amount that residents living in Cardiff will have to pay in council tax has not been set yet, but the council said it is looking at a 3% increase for the next financial year.
The budget settlement that Cardiff Council received from the Welsh Government this year was less than half the amount it received last year.
Most of the money that the council receives for its budget comes from this grant and about 26% comes from council tax.
Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for finance, Cllr Chris Weaver, said the local authority cannot say yet exactly how much council tax will rise by, but he said there is “little doubt” it will have to rise to close the current budget gap.
If the council increases council tax by 1% it would generate an additional £1.7m.
Car parking charges
Both residential and pay and display car parking run by the council looks set to go up in price this year.
The council is proposing higher charges for pay and stay parking closer to the city centre, with an average increase of £1 per hour in the city centre and 50p in districts outside the city centre.
Long-stay parking for commuters could also be reduced in availability to encourage people to use public transport.
Some pay and stay locations managed by the council across the city offer up to two hours free, but this window could be removed in favour of a £1 fee for the first hour of parking and £1.50 for the first two hours in the city centre.
For areas outside the city centre, a charge of 50p is proposed for the first hour and £1 for the first two hours.
The cost of a first car parking permit could increase from £24 to £30 and a second permit could increase from £54 to £80.
A number of options are being looked at for increases to secondary school meals in Cardiff.
They range from a 10p increase to a 30p increase, which would take the cost of meals to £3.50.
Free school meals are currently being rolled out to all primary school children in Cardiff, however some children in years five and six are still having to pay.
Increases in the cost of school meals of between 10p and 30p are also being looked at here.
The cost of school meals for primary school children is currently £2.75.
Cardiff Council will continue to subsidise the school meals service and all primary school children are expected to be eligible for free school meals from September 2024.
Most other local authorities currently charge for the collection of garden waste and Cardiff is looking to do just the same in the next financial year.
There is no set price being proposed by the council yet, but it is looking at a charge in the region of £35 to £45 per year.
The council already charges for the collection of some bulky waste items, but others like large electrical appliances, white goods or items made of metal, wood, MDF or laminate are collected for free.
From this year there could be a charge for the collection of all bulky waste items.
This would range from:
- £17.50 for up to two items
- £30 for up to four items
- £42.50 for up to six items
- £55 for up to eight items
The charge would also include a £5 booking fee and save the council £71,000 per year.
Sports and leisure
A proposal is being put forward by the council to reduce the subsidies it provides for the provision of football, rugby, cricket and baseball pitches.
Hiring fees currently range from £50.92 to £76.12.
Fees could increase by 10%, 20% or 30% and residents will be asked which of these options they support.
There is another option of ‘no increase in fees’ being put before residents.
Cardiff Council is also proposing to increase the amount that bowling clubs pay for the maintenance of bowling greens.
The charge could go up to the following amounts:
- Up to £1,000
- £1,001 – £2,000
- More than £2,000
A charge for the use of park pavilions could also be brought in. The proposed charges for this also range from £1,000 to more than £2,000.
Burial and cremation
Inflationary pressures have also increased the cost of running the council’s bereavement service.
As such, the council is proposing to increase burial fees by £100 to £1,040 and cremation fees by £50 to £870.
Burials on bank holidays and weekends are currently subsidised, however the council is now looking to increase the additional fees for this service.
The options being looked at include:
- Increasing the fees by 10% to £341
- Increasing the fees by 20% to £372
- Increasing the fees by 30% to £403
- Increase the fees to £735 and remove all subsidy
- No increase in the cost of burial services on weekends and bank holidays
What happens next?
Cardiff Council’s budget proposals will be looked at in closer detail by a number of the local authority’s scrutiny committees next week.
The public consultation on the council’s budget proposals for 2024/24 will close on Sunday February 4.