GWYNEDD councillors have set their annual budget for the 2022/23 financial year which includes a combination of measures to protect vital local services and investment in key areas.
Despite significant financial pressures due to Covid-19 and high inflation costs, robust financial management over several years means that the Council has been able to avoid introducing new cuts to services for 2022/23, and has been able to cancel or delay around 75% of the cuts that had been planned for the coming year.
In total, Gwynedd Council’s budget for 2022/23 will stand at £295 million. Of this, £213 million will come from the Welsh Government in the form of a grant and the remaining £82 million will be raised locally through Council Tax.
Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Ioan Thomas said:
“This year’s Welsh Government financial settlement is fairer than it has been for many years. However, it is important to remember that the Council must contend with a number of factors that are increasing the pressure on our budget.
“These include the highest rate of inflation for a number of years, and the need to continue to spend significant sums on our continued response to Covid-19 particularly when the emergency government funding comes to an end at the end of this month.
“Through careful planning we have been able to limit this year’s Council Tax increase to 2.95%, which equates to a weekly increase of 84p for a Band D household.
“We fully appreciate that this is a tough time for many households, and would urge anyone who is struggling to pay their Council Tax to visit our website to see if they are eligible for Council Tax relief or entitled to any other financial support.”
As part of the financial strategy for 2022/23, the Full Council agreed to invest in a number of areas in response to feedback received from councillors, town and community councils and local residents.
Introducing new ‘Ardal Ni’ Tidying Teams as part of the Council’s Clean and Tidy Communities initiative. In response to local priorities, these new rapid-response teams will tackle problems such as fly-tipping, graffiti, and general untidiness in communities;
Scrapping Post-16 education travel fees so that 16 to 25-year-old students will not have to pay an annual fee of £300 to travel to college or school from September 2022;
Employing new staff to tackle dog fouling problems; and
£3 million to deliver the Council’s Climate Change Plan. This includes the introduction of electric waste collection vehicles, making public buildings energy-efficient and promoting biodiversity.
Gwynedd Council Leader, Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn said:
“Whilst the financial situation remains difficult, I am proud of the fact that we have this year been able to invest in a number of new initiatives to improve services for the people of Gwynedd.
“In response to the climate change emergency, we are significantly increasing our investment to further reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.
“Local people frequently tell us that more needs to be done to keep towns and villages clean and tidy. We have listened, and we are rolling-out new teams that will work with communities to tackle their local environmental priorities.
“In order to help as many young people as possible to access post-16 education, from September onwards we will be scrapping the £300 transport fee that 16 to 25-year-olds currently pay to get to school or college.
“I am confident that these and the other proactive measures agreed by the Full Council will have a positive impact on the lives of local people, and look forward to seeing them being delivered over the coming months.”
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