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Cardiff Council

Council Budget

The Budget 2024 to 2025 consultation closed on Sunday 4 February 2024.​

There’s little doubt that councils across Wales and the UK are now facing financial challenges unlike any experienced before.

These challenges have been a long time in the making.  

A result of a decade of austerity, of Covid-19, of the cost-of-living crisis and now of a return to austerity once more.

Despite this we are committed to making Cardiff a stronger, fairer and greener city, and we are making greats strides forward.

Education results are now amongst the highest in Wales.

We are building more new Council homes than ever before.

More people are being paid the real living wage in Cardiff, and a record number of people are being helped into work and to access benefits.  

However, like local authorities up and down the country, we have had to deliver services after more than a decade of austerity. This has meant that Cardiff Council has had to make savings of over £230m since 2012.

Over recent years we have also had to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, a cost-of-living and energy crisis and rising costs and inflation which have hit our communities, our most vulnerable people and families, and our public services hard.  
More and more the people of Cardiff are looking to the Council and to our public service partners for support, be it for housing, for employment, for care for older relatives or for family support.  And yet because of the economic conditions and UK government spending decisions we do not have the funding we need to respond.  

We estimate that, because of a combination of rising costs and demand on services, just maintaining the services the city currently benefits from will cost an extra £56m next year.  

Welsh Government is facing its own budget pressure, and so, whilst it has provided an extra £25m to Cardiff Council this falls a long way short of what is required to meet the additional costs the Council is now facing. And so, despite an increase in funding from Welsh Government, that still leaves us with a £30.5m gap which we must close through further efficiency savings, increasing Council Tax or charges for services, or, in some cases by reducing or cutting services altogether.

This budget consultation sets out the changes to our services that we are having to consider in order to balance the budget in 2024 to 2025.  

We want to know what you think of these proposals. So please, get involved, and respond to the questions contained in this consultation by midnight on the 4 February 2024. Your views matter. Together we can help shape a budget which protects our most vulnerable while striving to build a better future and a better Cardiff for everyone who lives here. 

Cllr Huw Thomas
Leader, Cardiff Council
The Council has an overall budget of £804m that it uses to fund local services.

In setting the budget for 2024 to 2025 the Council is dealing with one of the hardest budget challenges it has ever faced. We estimate that the cost of delivering the same services next year has increased by around £56m.

  • The demand for social care, and the cost of delivery, is the biggest driver of the budget gap we are facing. Services supporting the most vulnerable- such as children needing protection or older people needing care- were already facing huge pressures. These pressures have continued to increase with the cost of delivery having risen sharply across the country. This is at a time when demand is going up and the level of support needed is becoming more complicated. 

  • As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, more and more people are turning to the Council for support. This wider demand pressures facing all Council services are taking their toll.
    - The number of people accessing the Council’s advice services has doubled since before the pandemic.
    - Waiting lists for temporary accommodation are at historically high levels, having increased by 150% over the last two years.
    - The number of rough sleepers has more than tripled since 2022 to 2023
    - The work done by the Council’s into-work advice team has increased by 75% between and the same period in 2019 to 2020.
    - There has been a significant increase of in the number of people seeking support to access Universal Credit

With more people seeking to access Council services, the cost of delivery is going up.

  • ​Inflationary Pressures: High inflation has meant that the costs of all goods and services are more expensive, meaning that everything we need to buy to deliver our services is costing us more. 

Welsh Government is facing its own budget pressure, and so, whilst it has provided an extra £25m to Cardiff Council this falls a long way short of what is required to meet the additional costs the Council is now facing. The Council has a legal obligation to close the budget gap in order to set a balance budget. The budget gap is the gap between the cost of delivering services and the amount of money available. For next year the Council is facing a ‘budget gap’ of £30.5m, which we have to close.

The budget gap will need to be closed through a combination of:

Efficiency Savings

The Council is committed to protecting frontline services and is therefore looking to generate as much savings as possible through back-office efficiencies. This means driving down the running cost of our buildings, reducing the amount of office space we need, and using new technology where it can save us money. Closing the budget gap will also require the Council to look at a managed reduction in the number of staff employed, through voluntary severance. This can generate savings whilst keeping compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

Council Tax

Council Tax accounts for only 26% of the Council’s budget, with the remainder coming from the Welsh Government. Each increase of 1% in Council tax only generates around £1.7m, therefore any increase in Council Tax will not be enough to close the budget gap.

Use of Reserves

The Council has to be very careful when using its financial reserves, there is only a limited amount available and once they’re gone, they’re gone. The majority of the Council’s reserves are earmarked for specific purposes and are therefore already committed in support of delivering services, for example funding one-off community initiatives and supporting Homelessness Prevention Services. The Council does maintain a level of General Balance totalling £14.2M to cover unforeseen costs and this equates to less than 2% of the Council’s overall net budget.

Changes or Reductions to Services

Taken together, our efficiency savings will make the biggest component of our savings. Unfortunately, they will not be enough to balance the books, and some changes or reductions to services may be necessary, alongside increased charges. That is why we want to know what the people of Cardiff think about some of the potential changes that we could make to save money. 

Budget archive

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