Cardiff council facing £18m funding gap

Unions have warned next year will be the “worst yet” after Cardiff council revealed it was facing a £18m funding gap in its 2012/13 budget.

Civic leaders told yourCardiff it was too early to say whether there would be any further job losses in the next financial year on top of the 350 jobs axed this year.

The authority had a £22m shortfall in its last budget which was covered through a mix of efficiency savings, job losses, new charges for services and by rising council tax 1.94%.

Councillor Mark Stephens, executive member for finance, said the council had originally planned for a £19.4m funding gap in 2012/13 and said the £1m reduction was “very good news”.

He said the schools and social care budgets would be protected, as required by the Welsh Government, but other service areas will need to find savings of 10%.

About £10m of the £18m will be found through “transformation savings”, while the remainder will come from other sources, such as reserves and council tax hikes.

According to a report prepared for councillors there will be “little scope” for new council-funded developments and any schemes will have to be self-financing.

“The £18m gap is less than last year but it’s still significant,” Coun Stephens said.

“The comfort I take is that we have a plan for the medium-term that we believe will protect vital services and take the city forward.”

Kenny Daniels, of the GMB union, said he remained “optimistic” there would be no compulsory redundancies.

“Next year is going to be the worst yet, but I am sure that we can drive more efficiencies out of the system through transformational change,” he said.

Talks with unions about pay and grading as part of new a Single Status Agreement are continuing and a report will be presented to the Executive in September.