Blaenau Gwent’s draft budget proposals for the 2021/22 financial year are now available and will be considered for approval by Council in early March.
Following the provisional settlement from Welsh Government, the budget forecast has improved, with an increase of 3.6% in Welsh Government funding. This has provided the council with an extra £4.2 million in funding above initial budget estimates.
The position for 2021/22 projects a balanced budget for councillors to consider, with no cuts to services. The Council understands the value of the services it provides for local residents and this is welcome position for next year.
Our approach to financial planning over the last couple of years has enabled the production of a balanced budget for next year. Key to this has been taking a more commercially minded approach and thinking about different ways to meet the needs of our residents, businesses and visitors. Our commercially minded approach is continuing as we plan for delivering services in the next few years with our ‘bridging the gap’ programme.
Recovery and Priorities
Over the months ahead the Council and its partners must continue to focus on managing the pandemic and doing all we can to keep our citizens and communities safe.
However, as we look towards recovery we want to hear where you think we should be placing our focus and priorities:
• Protection of core services with no budget cuts
• Consider an increase to the Schools Budget by the same increase as the overall increase in funding from Welsh Government – 3.6%
• Savings of at least £750,000 from our bridging the gap programme
• Contribution into our reserves to enhance our financial resilience and fund future opportunities and pressures
Approximately 24% of the Council’s income is generated through Council tax.
The Council’s financial plan is to consider increasing Council Tax by 4% from April 2021. A 4% increase would mean a £0.87p approximate increase per week for Band A households and £1.02 approximate increase for Band B households per week.
The budget proposals will be scrutinised by councillors on 23 February.
The final budget settlement from Welsh Government is due on the 2 March and the council will finalise a balanced budget on the 4 March following the outcome of scrutiny and council tax proposals.
We are interested in your views on our priorities and the level of Council Tax being considered and you can have your say here