At the end of last month, Council Members considered and approved proposals for setting a legally balanced budget for the 2018/19 financial year.

Despite austerity continuing to place huge financial pressures on Local Authorities, we have maintained our disciplined and careful approach to managing our budgets, and through this, we have been able to agree to invest £180m of capital spending into our communities over the next three years.

This will enable us to build on the huge successes delivered by the £200m #RCTInvest programme over the last three years, and crucially, this capital scheme will be supported by the £300m of additional investment that we announced earlier this year.  This will mean that the Council is able to continue investing in the services and areas that matter most to residents, and will allow us to continue to build better schools, travel on better roads and highways, and continue to invest in our leisure facilities.

Last year, I outlined how we had set ourselves the ambitious target of saving £6m through efficiencies, and I am pleased to say that we have exceeded this by identifying over £7m of savings for the coming financial year.  This approach has enabled the Council to increase the schools budget by £2m for 2018/19, which is double the amount previously identified.  By constantly challenging ourselves in this way, we have also been able to avoid transferring the bulk of the pressures of austerity on to frontline services and our residents, and this is highlighted by the fact that for the coming year, RCT will be implementing the lowest Council Tax rise in Wales at 3.3%.  We recognise the pressure on everyone's personal finances and the Council is committed to doing all that we can to ensure that residents do not have to bear the brunt of the tough financial times we are currently experiencing.

I would once again like to place on record my thanks to all of those who have engaged in the Council’s extensive budget setting consultation process.  By giving us your views and letting us know where your priorities lie, you have helped us to shape the future of Rhondda Cynon Taf.

I would also like to take the opportunity to again place on record my thanks to the many Council staff who worked around the clock in tackling the “Beast from the East” earlier this month.  This was the largest winter weather operation in the history of RCT and credit must be given to our crews for the job they did in battling the significant levels of snowfall that threatened to severely disrupt our highways network. 

Posted on 15/03/2018