Budget Proposals 23/24
Cllr Sean Morgan – Leader of Caerphilly CB
Significant financial pressures are facing households across our county borough, just as they are across the whole country. We have endured ten years of government enforced austerity with budget cuts, wage freezes and shifting the burden to those who can least afford it, followed by Brexit, a global pandemic and now an inflation driven cost of living crisis, all being managed by a chaotic government that is signalling yet more austerity.
This is of huge concern for everyone and we have responded with a suite of measures aimed at helping those who are finding it very difficult to manage. (If you are struggling, please call Caerphilly Cares on 01443 811490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org )
Local authorities are no different, and this council is also feeling the impact of the current financial climate.
Caerphilly Council is facing a gap of £35million in next year’s budget, compared to our worst year in austerity where we had to find £14million. It’s hard to fully appreciate the scale of this amount, but as an example, if we shut all our leisure centres and libraries, stopped collecting waste and carried out no maintenance on our highways, we would still not meet this shortfall. I’m not suggesting for one moment that we are going to do this, but it helps illustrate the scale of the challenge ahead.
Thankfully, whilst these pressures are significant, we are in a strong position to face the challenges due to sound financial management over recent years. Caerphilly has healthy reserves, 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’ and I think we can all agree that the rainy day has arrived. In fact, it is more of a torrential downpour.
We have ignored irresponsible opposition voices calling for our reserves to be used on a myriad of populist causes, which means we now have the funds available for a time when we need them the most.
We are currently considering a range of options and ideas and a key part of this process is listening to your views, so you can help us shape our services and prioritise spending. We have an ongoing conversation with residents over recent years and this will continue over the coming weeks as we launch a new survey to gather your feedback about our plans.
It is clear that Team Caerphilly needs purposeful leadership at such a critical time and we need a collective effort from the council and the community to navigate our way through the difficult months ahead.
You have my assurance that I will do everything possible to protect the many services that support our communities throughout these difficult times. Please keep an eye out for the forthcoming survey and have your say to help shape the future of the council and our services.