CABINET members for Neath Port Talbot Council have said they are confident in delivering a balanced budget for the 2024-25 financial year, despite facing an additional £20 million in expected costs.
The local authority, which recently announced an in-year overspend of more than £3million, said they would now be doing everything within their power to drive down costs, as well as planning a balanced budget for next year with no significant cuts to services or job losses expected.
The discussions took place just a week before the Welsh Government announces the Provisional Local Government settlement for local councils across Wales, with many predicting their most difficult financial year to date.
Members and officers have said every section of the council’s service areas have been looked at as part of its cost-cutting programme, which include cutting the number of council-run buildings in operation, better using technology, and even a proposals for turning off or dimming of street lighting to cut energy costs.
A council spokesperson said: “In setting its 2024/25 budget, the council faces one of the most difficult financial situations in its history – £20m in new cost pressures due to inflation, cost of living and other factors, but the prospect of only an estimated extra £8m in Welsh Government funding.
“Welsh Government funding will be announced next week as part of the Provisional Local Government settlement. As a result, every section of the council’s many service areas have been looked at in detail as part an ongoing, comprehensive cost cutting and efficiencies programme to save millions of pounds in order to reach a balanced budget.”
Pressure areas expected over the coming years focus largely on care and social services, with new contracts for adult social services increasing from 6,259 in 2018-19 to 9,265 in 2022-23.
Homelessness is another area that is experiencing increased demand with figures showing that numbers in temporary accommodation have increased from 313 in 2019-20 to 832 in 2023-24. It is a figure that without action could increase further to around 2,233 people by 2027-28.
The cabinet will now be recommended to approve public consultation on the 2024/25 budget proposals next week on Decembers 20, which if approved would run until January 10, 2024.