Last month, the Cabinet considered a report aimed at boosting recycling rates across the County Borough, as we look to improve on our strong performances over recent years.

The 64% of overall waste recycled in the 2016 calendar year and the 2016/17 financial year cemented our place amongst the top-10 recycling Local Authorities in Wales. Further improvements must be made however, if we are to reach the Welsh Government’s 70% target by 2024/25, with significant fines set to be issued to Authorities who miss the target. At a time of austerity and continually shrinking budgets, this is a situation that we are all naturally keen to avoid.

The proposals considered by Cabinet are designed to target those who do not currently recycle, and the Council will always seek to engage with residents and educate before issuing any form of financial penalty. The vast majority of our residents are already playing their part in helping to recycle, and to those residents, these measures will not be noticed. These proposals show that we are adopting a common sense approach to the issue, and we are not looking to catch people out if, for example, a stray can ends up in a black bin.

As part of our responsibility to set a legally balanced budget, the Full Council will shortly consider budget strategy options for 2018/19. This includes a proposal to increase Council Tax by 3.3%, which, following indications from other Local Authorities, again looks to be one of the lowest rises in Wales. We recognise the ever growing pressures being placed on everyone's personal finances and that is why we have sought to keep any Council Tax increases as low as we possibly can.

This year's consultation feedback has seen residents indicate that they are willing to support a small rise in Council Tax if it will support the delivery of good quality key services, and our approach seeks to ensure that we can protect our valued frontline services from continued public sector austerity.

Through our strong financial management, the proposed budget would also deliver a £2m cash uplift for schools, which is double the level we have previously committed to deliver.

Cabinet recently agreed in principle to a £300m strategic capital investment programme, over and above our normal spending plans, to continue to deliver huge investment in Highways, Schools, Housing and Town Centres over the next five years – representing the largest capital investment in Rhondda Cynon Taf’s history, and following on from the #RCTinvest programme, which is making a visible difference across our communities.

Posted on 21/02/2018