Caerphilly, like all local authorities across Wales, is facing significant financial challenges at the moment due to ongoing budget pressures caused by a number of unprecedented factors.
We have endured over ten years of UK government enforced austerity with budget cuts, wage freezes and a shift in burden to those who can least afford it. We are also feeling the impact of Brexit, a global pandemic, rising energy prices and a cost of living crisis.
Whilst these pressures are significant, we are in a strong position to face the challenges ahead due to our sound financial management over recent years.
One of the key proposals in the report is a one-off use of council reserves in 2023/24 totalling £15.051million. Caerphilly has healthy reserves at present, the majority of which are ring-fenced and ear-marked for specific schemes. However, an element of the funds can be used as a contingency for a ‘rainy day’.
Other permanent and temporary savings totalling £12.421m have also been identified to help balance the budget for 2023/24. “The one-off use of reserves and temporary savings in 2023/24 provides a short-term fix and will buy us time to reshape our services to address the significant financial challenges that lie ahead.
Another key recommendation in the draft report is to increase Council Tax by 7.9% for 2023/24. This would increase the Band D precept from £1,253.95 to £1,353.01 (an annual increase of £99.06 or £1.91 per week).
It's important to note that even with a 7.9% council tax increase, Caerphilly CBC will remain one of the very lowest council tax rates in the whole of Wales.