Cutbacks in Neath Port Talbot could be show-stoppers
MASSIVE cuts are on their way to Neath Port Talbot next year to the tune more than £17 million — and council officers say there is very little room for manoeuvre.
The authority has seen a 4.6 per cent reduction in funding from the Welsh Government, and will have to cut its expenditure by £17.3 million from April .
Cuts have been explored in every area of the council, and could see CCTV withdrawn, except for out-of-hours calls, and Christmas lighting for 2014 cancelled.
Twelve festivals across the county could also have to find funding elsewhere, including the summer Margam Festival.
A report due to go before the authority's cabinet committee tomorrow stresses that members are not being invited to set next year's budget now, but cuts incorporated are likely to go ahead.
It also says budget proposals will assume an increase of 3.5 per cent, but again, members were not invited to confirm that decision at the meeting.
"There is very limited room for manoeuvre here," says a report by the corporate directors' group
"There are no significant and deliverable areas of savings that have not been explored or are not currently being explored.
"We have been doing this for six months already, so there are no knee-jerk reactions here."
Final decisions will be taken early in the new year once a series of consultations are completed.
Councillor Ali Thomas, leader of the council said: "There is no pretending that this is unexpected as we have been told to prepare for English-style cuts.
"The council has been preparing for many months; but that makes the process no less painful. We are determined to protect front line services to the maximum extent particularly for children and young people."
Chief executive Steven Phillips added: "The council is currently conducting an extensive consultation and engagement with service users, partners, community groups and others on the future provision of services. Significant cuts are unavoidable but it is encouraging that new models of service delivery are starting to emerge."