Unity appeal as Neath Port Talbot Council faces up to cuts decisions
COUNCILLORS in Neath Port Talbot have been called on to stick together in the face of huge financial cuts.
And it was also revealed at a Cabinet Board and Scrutiny Committee meeting yesterday that a further £4 million of savings need to be found on top of those areas mentioned in a report presented to members.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that following the provisional Welsh Government settlement this month, the authority was facing a reduction of 3.9 per cent.
It means Neath Port Talbot Council has a budget shortfall of £17.3 million that needs to be saved by April next year.
Hywel Jenkins, director of finance and corporate services said: "The Welsh Government fund 79 per cent of our net budget. The remaining 21 per cent is paid for by council tax payers. This limits our ability of generating means through council tax."
He said information about grants available to councils had not yet been released, and would likely not be released until the final settlement figures in December. Members were told that the council's six improvement objectives would be protected as much as possible — but that there would be reductions or cuts in all areas.
Chief executive, Steven Phillips, reminded members that the special meeting was not yet to set the budget, but to warn members of what cuts the authority could be facing.
"It is subject to consultation, these decisions are still to be made," he said.
"This report outlines £12.5 to £13 million in terms of savings — we have still got to find another £4.5 million yet, which includes decisions yet to be made by council and in terms of council tax. We all knew what was coming, we will leave no stone unturned."
Members were given the opportunity to raise questions or make comments on the different areas mentioned in the report, with Plaid councillors Lynnette Purcell and Alun Llewelyn scrutinising the proposals.
But following two hours of discussion, council leader, Ali Thomas, called on all members to stick together. He said: "I haven't heard any alternatives mentioned, expect for things that would just scratch the surface.''