Backlog of repairs for Swansea Council as it tries to save £45m
WHILE Swansea Council focuses on saving £45 million over the next three years, a backlog of repairs and maintenance that dwarfs that sum continues to build.
Councils everywhere have a “to do” list when it comes to repairing roads, schools and other authority-owned buildings.
To cross off every job on that list, Swansea Council would have to fork out £292 million.
And in the current financial circumstances, it is an impossible ask.
Repair and maintenance backlogs build up over years — even decades.
Bringing Swansea’s schools up to scratch alone would cost £129 million.
Asked how the current financial constraints would affect its repair plans, a council spokesman said: “It’s common sense that as part of the budget consultation we look at doing things differently to the way we do now and how we can best manage our buildings.
“In some cases this might mean spending to improve buildings and to make them more energy efficient. But it also means some properties might be considered for sale because they are surplus to our needs.
“This will generate income to re-invest in buildings and services and at the same time reduce the size of the backlog.”
He said an asset management plan had been drawn up to address this issue.
School buildings are being looked as part of Swansea Council’s Quality in Education (QEd) scheme, a plan part-funded by the Welsh Government which sets out the case for new schools.
In Swansea now it is the running of day-to-day services that are under the microscope — and your suggestions are being sought as part of a budget consultation called Sustainable Swansea — Fit for the Future.
Essentially, nothing is being ruled in or out.
The Labour administration has set out four key cost-saving areas - stopping services and increasing income, doing things differently, prevention and efficiencies — each with several subheadings.
It has also listed budget priorities, such as reducing subsidies and selling services to other organisations.
Improving its online presence is seen as a way of cutting costs. Every time a member of the public makes contact with the council online it costs 15p, compared to £2.83 by phone and £8.62 face-to-face.
Meanwhile, a letter to the Post signed by “a Swansea rate payer” suggested council chiefs might want to reconsider their match day boxes at the Liberty Stadium.
“How can they afford two boxes at the Arsenal game?” asked the scribe.