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Millions of Pounds of Investment Set for Swansea Council Services

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Swansea Council is set to invest millions of pounds more in social care, education and local communities as part of Budget proposals to be seen by Cabinet next month.

The Welsh Government's draft indicative budget for the next financial year has earmarked £17m uplift for Swansea.

The move has been welcomed by Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart, but he warned that it would take many more years of similar increases to end the damage done by a decade of austerity.

He said:

“Thanks to the most positive Budget settlement from the Welsh Government in a decade, we intend to invest millions of pounds more on the priorities of the people of Swansea next year..

“We are planning major investment in education and social care. There will also be further additional support and funding for our local communities across Swansea.

“These proposals are aiming to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities as well as invest in our children's futures.”

But he added:

“While the funding increase from the Welsh Government is very welcome it won't undo years of UK Government austerity and some unavoidable decisions still need to be made.

“We're going to need many more years of investment at this level if we are to get back to where we should always have been. As always we will try to minimise any impact on front line services and protect jobs.”

The Council's Cabinet is due to see the draft Budget report at its meeting on January 9. Public consultation will follow and feedback will be taken into account ahead of a finalised budget being offered to Full Council on March 5.

Although the Council is getting extra funding in the next financial year, £9.7m of efficiency and service modernisations have also been identified to help further offset rising demand for social care services, the teachers' pay award, inflation and other costs.

The increased funding means that the savings target for the Council over the next could be significantly less than the previously-anticipated £63m. But this will depend on the level of future settlements.

No decision has yet been taken on the level of council tax for next year and this will form part of the consultation.

However, the amount Swansea collects in council tax is only broadly the equivalent of its spending on social services.

Cllr Stewart said:

“Next year we will be investing an average £1.7m every day in services that make a real difference to people's lives. Services like safeguarding the vulnerable, tackling poverty and caring for our ageing population. We will be looking at how we can use the increased resources from Welsh government to support services and community priorities'

“Every Council in Wales has experienced a decade of budget real-terms reductions because the money being received from central government has been systematically cut back every single year.

“We are already doing more with less because the council has become smarter, leaner and more efficient. We have reduced back-office spending, automated services and cut red tape and that has helped slash the cost of what we do by millions of pounds. By radically changing the way we work we have achieved savings of more than £70m in the last five years.

“This becomes more difficult year on year and despite the welcome increase this year, some very difficult choices about budgets will have to be made. But we are determined to keep on delivering the vital frontline services that people in Swansea want.”