We’d like to hear from you on our 2024/25 draft budget proposals

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet has approved a period of public consultation over its draft 2024/25 budget proposals.

The Cabinet’s decision on 20/12/23 means that from now until January 10th,  2024, people are invited to give their views on how the council proposes to deal with one of the most difficult financial situations in its history.

Despite soaring energy costs, inflation-related pay pressures and unprecedented demands on its vital services, the council hopes to deliver a balanced 2024/25 budget with no significant cuts to services and no substantial staff job losses (the majority of staff live in Neath Port Talbot).

But in setting its budget for the coming financial year, the council is facing around £30m in new cost pressures but with the prospect of only an estimated £8m extra in funding from the Welsh Government.

Just some of the pressures currently faced by the council include:

  • Homelessness – numbers in temporary accommodation have gone up from 313 in 2019/20 to 832 in 2023/24.
  • Children’s Social Services – contacts to the service were 2,209 in January 2023 compared with 1,435 in April 2021.
  • Adult Social Services – new contacts to the service were 9,265 in 2022/23 compared with 6,259 2018/19.
  • Leisure and Culture – participation levels are slowly recovering after Covid 19 but income levels are below pre-pandemic levels.

In order to tackle the rising demands and costs more than 80 wide ranging savings and income generation proposals have been put forward with an estimated value of £8.2m including (to name just a few) continuing to rationalise council buildings, reducing energy costs, considering how services could be done differently and increasing income by increasing fees and charges for services.

Despite the raft of savings and income generation proposals there still remains a budget gap for 24/25 so it’s proposed Council Tax will need to increase to cover the cost of running vital council services, to help keep leisure facilities open and to cover the local contribution to essential Fire and Rescue services (a cost over which the council has no control).

There are no firm proposals on Council Tax yet – the provisional Local Government Settlement announced on 20/12/23 will need analysis first before its impact on the council can be understood.

The quickest and easiest way to complete your consultation questionnaire is online at www.npt.gov.uk/LetsKeepTalking . For those not online, there are paper versions of the questionnaire and feedback boxes at more than 40 venues across the county borough. These include libraries, community centres, civic centres, Celtic Leisure venues and other public buildings.