Wales

Torfaen Council looks to £10m budget cuts

Torfaen Council
Image caption More than 150 ideas were also suggested by the public for councillors to consider in Pontypool on Wednesday

One of Wales' smallest councils is having to find £10m savings next year due to budget cutbacks.

A special meeting of Torfaen council will look for options, which include restricting pay rises to 1.4%.

Council chiefs admit although "very difficult" they will try to avoid shutting services completely, but look to cut back instead.

Proposals include £2.6m savings in social care.

Options include changes in care packages, not filling vacant posts and limiting respite for carers in adult services.

The council, the third smallest in Wales, will see its budget fall from the Welsh government to £130.8m from next April.

Potential savings

  • Education services: £669,277
  • Social care and housing: £2.6m
  • Neighbourhoods (inc highways and libraries): £1.197m
  • Public protection and planning: £148,000
  • Resources services: £790,000
  • Community services: £314,000
  • Strategic services: £302,000

Possible cuts include £50,000 on street light maintenance, a rise in fees for cemetery burials, £150,000 from school catering and a review of the library service - with a longer term aim to see volunteers running them in future.

A consultation on the proposed cuts showed very low support for a rise in council tax, while half of those who responded backed a rise in charges for services.

Around a third were in favour of reducing services but 70% want to see them delivered in different ways.

Councillor Anthony Hunt, executive member for resources, said the cuts had been "savage".

"Finding this level of savings is impossible without taking some extremely difficult decisions - especially after the scale of cuts local services have already faced over the past five years," he added.

Residents will be able to watch the debate online from 13:20 GMT on Wednesday on the council's webcast.

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