Biggest cuts ever facing Swansea Council
SWANSEA Council needs to save £45million over the next three years.
The Labour administration said it was committed to protecting key services such as education and social care but might provide them in a different way than now.
Councils across Wales are facing sizeable budget cuts from next year onwards due to decreases in settlements which come from Westminster via the Welsh Government.
Swansea’s cabinet member for finance, Rob Stewart, said Welsh councils had been relatively protected from cuts until now.
Coupled with this settlement reduction, he said, was that demand for services such as adult social care was increasing due to a growing number of elderly people - many of whom were living longer.
Mr Stewart described the £45million as being “of a size and scale not seen before by this council”, equating to cuts across the board of more than 10 per cent over three years.
Put simply, the council has said it will not have the money to continue doing all it does now.
Council chiefs have set out a list of budget principles, such as reducing management costs, and identified four key savings areas: stopping services and increasing income, doing things differently, prevention, and greater efficiency.
For example, the council’s in-house legal team could be hired out to external organisations.
Weddings might resume at the restored Guildhall.
More services could be provided online, such as claiming a blue badge, at a fraction of the cost of face-to-face contact at the Civic Centre.
Trusts could be set up, like the one that runs the LC, to run services and access funding the council could not.
Mr Stewart said no staff redundancy figures had been set, but that the early retirement and redundancy process among the council’s 11,000-plus workforce would continue.
Also, buildings that were not needed could be sold, while grants to voluntary groups would be reviewed.
Council taxes could rise, but the extra revenue would hardly dent the £45million.
HOW do you think the council can save £45million? What would you cut first?