Council tax rise and £7 million spending cuts on the agenda for Neath Port Talbot Council
COUNCIL tax payers in Neath and Port Talbot face a hike in their bills again this year — coupled with £7 million of spending cuts.
Cabinet members were meeting today to discuss the authority's budget for 2013-14, which will include a council tax rise of just under 3.9 per cent and increases in fees and charges.
Although Band D council tax payers will see their bills go up to £1,256, the council has pointed out the vast majority of residents are on lower bands and will see an increase of less than 12p a day.
The brunt of the cuts will be felt by education, leisure and lifelong learning, and social services and health, both of which will have to reduce spending by around £2.1 million.
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Neath Port Talbot's environment services will have to tighten its belt by £1.7 million, with just under £1 million worth of savings imposed on corporate services.
A joint report by the council's corporate directors states: "The savings have been identified as a result of a prolonged and intensive level of professional and cabinet member input.
"This has examined current service provision and then proposed, over the longer term, fundamental changes in the way the council operates and delivers its services.
"Further work is now required to ensure that the budget savings are achieved."
But it's not all doom and gloom. Despite the need for savings, Neath Port Talbot is investing £107 million in its education service, £1 million more than this year.
The council says it is also providing significant new investment for social services covering children, adult and disability services.
This is also despite the need for overall savings of £2.1 million.
"Continuous improvement and the need to achieve savings cannot be excluded from any service area, including social care," the report notes.