Budget reveals proposals for 3.8% increase in Swansea council tax
SWANSEA residents are set to see a 3.8 per cent increase in their council tax in April.
The rise will bring in an extra £3.011 million for services.
Last year the increase was set at 0 per cent — below the Welsh average of 1.9 per cent.
However, cabinet member for finance Rob Stewart said that had left the authority under-funded.
"I feel that was an election tactic," he said. "That left services under-funded by about £2.4 million.
"It has left us in a position of catching up compared with other Welsh councils."
For an average band D property it will mean a rise of 72p a week — not including precepts from the fire and rescue or police services. South Wales Police has already set its precept rise at 7 per cent.
The rise is included in Swansea Council's budget for 2013/14. It will go before cabinet members for approval on Wednesday and full council the following week.
As well as the tax rise plans for spending and savings are also set out.
The budget is in line with the Labour administration's manifesto, which was adopted as council policy last year.
"We believe in providing money to services," Mr Stewart added. "And we've taken steps to deliver our political priorities and we have done that with 57 out of the 100 priorities.
"That is more than we had hoped for this year. But it is a five-year programme and more will follow."
The council was facing a £12.6 million shortfall — a large chunk of which was down to an overspend of almost £5.1 million in social services.
It is going to be filled by staffing reductions — the previously announced early retirement and voluntary redundancy scheme, increases in some fees and charges, a use of general reserves and the rates increase among others.
The fees increases will include a 5 per cent rise at council leisure centres and for car parking.
David Phillips, leader, said: "Swansea Council is making a significant investment in the future of our city over the coming year.
"Despite rising demand for services, pressure on our budgets and on local authority finances across Wales, the council is committed to prudent spending on services which matter to the people of Swansea.
"Children and young people, the elderly, the vulnerable, families and those living in poverty look to the council for support in these tough economic times.
"The commitment the council is making shows we are responding to their concerns by targeting funds at vital services which make a difference to their lives and to city communities as a whole."
Social services and education will share an increase in their budgets of more than £8 million and there will also be extra funding for young people and the environment over the next 12 months.
Mr Stewart added: "For city children and young people we're investing in schemes to boost participation in entrepreneurship and enterprise, the arts and play.
"And, of course, we are boosting budgets to support activities so we can be sure the city doesn't miss out on the fantastic opportunities offered by the Swans' Premier League adventure and the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations next year."