Neath Port Talbot Council has become aware of confusion about its budget proposals for the forthcoming 2024/25 financial year.
Some social media reports have given the impression a double figure increase in Council Tax for the county borough may have already been decided but that is not the case.
The confusion stems from footage of a recording of the council’s Cabinet on December 20th, 2023 after which the council’s 2024/25 budget proposals went out to public consultation.
In the footage, an officer is seen replying to a question about the funding gap facing Neath Port Talbot Council after it emerged the council’s provisional settlement from the Welsh Government contained a less than expected 2.8% increase instead of the 3.1% budgeted for.
The officer is seen beginning to answer that Council Tax would possibly have to rise by as much as 11% to close the gap – but his following words that the council would be working tirelessly over the coming months to reduce the funding gap in order to keep a Council Tax increase as low as possible were not included in the footage.
The council wishes to emphasise the Cabinet meeting from which the footage was shown did not contain any firm proposals in relation to Council Tax levels for 2024/25 which will not be set until early in March.
It is also important to note that in preparing for its 2024/25 budget the council has carried out an extensive exercise to look at opportunities for increasing income and reducing expenditure across the council.
This work has been done to limit the impact on jobs and services and on the level of Council Tax required to close the gap between Welsh Government funding and the cost of providing its vital services.
It should also be noted that final decisions around Council Tax levels are a matter for Full Council.
The council will agree its budget and set Council Tax in March 2024 after the Final Local Government Settlement is received from Welsh Government.