Cardiff Council’s ability to follow through on proposals to make £45m of budget cuts has been called into doubt.
The council unveiled details of how it plans to slash £45m from its 2014/15 budget last week, but some £12m of those savings are rated by the council as ‘red’ or ‘amber-red’ on its own traffic light scale of achievability.
Adrian Robson, Independent councillor for Rhiwbina said: “I am concerned about whether the council can achieve the cuts detailed in the proposed budget,
especially with what has happened in this financial year, with some of the savings they have been unable to achieve.”
The council had to make extra cuts to its budget for 2013/14 to curb a projected £3.9m overspend.
Coun Robson also called on the Labour cabinet to clarify some of the proposals further: “There’s quite a lot of ambiguity in this particular budget. “It brings the question, they have put in a contingency fund of about £3m. Is that going to be enough? Is it going to be seen as an excuse? Are departments going to think they don’t have to be so stringent on their savings?”
“When the council is forced to make some in-year cuts, normally they’re rushed decisions, we don’t have the full consultations.”
Russell Goodway, Cabinet Member for Finance and Economic Development, admitted that there was some “risk inherent” in the budget proposals he presented to councillors on January 30. “A bust council will be of no benefit to this city,” he said.
Of the 331 proposals put forward by the council to save money, 43, totalling £11.1m are rated ‘red-amber’ while four are rated ‘red’, adding up to £1.1m. The four proposed cuts rated as ‘red’ for achievability on the traffic light scale are:
- A £200,000 cut to funding for the Community Alcohol and Drug Team.
- Another £200,000 from changes to the council’s day service for the elderly.
- Cutting Cardiff Story museum staff to a skeleton level, saving £180,000.
- Finding another company to run St David’s Hall and the New Theatre.