Caerphilly County Councillors have approved a series of budget proposals for the forthcoming year at a council meeting this evening, which will see savings across the council for 2014/15 in excess of £14.2 million pounds.
Councillors also approved plans for a 3.9% increase in Council Tax, which in monetary terms equates to a 69 pence per week increase for a Band D property in Caerphilly county borough.
Members also supported plans to further increase the Living Wage by an additional 20 pence per hour, which will ensure that thousands of the council?s lowest paid staff earn at least £7.65 an hour, an increase of 20 pence from £7.45 as currently.
A report into the way public services are run here in Wales is expected to recommend a radical reduction in the number of local councils. The Williams Commission was appointed by the Welsh Government to look at the way services are organised and to suggest ways of improving their efficiency.
It's widely expected to say that Wales has too many local authorities and that rather than 22 separate councils there should be far fewer. Some reports suggest it will recommend halving that number through mergers instead of drawing up new boundaries.
Councils have warned that reorganisation will be difficult, expensive and could lead to thousands of job losses.
Welsh Councils are being warned of a bleak financial climate, with deep spending cuts lasting until 2021. A report to be launched a Welsh Local Government Conference later today says public services in Wales face a hugely challenging future following spending cuts and reforms to the welfare system.
It claims that three-quarters of public spending cuts are yet to come and that although there'll be some protection for the most important services, the unprotected ones could be cut by 52%. The report was commissioned by the Welsh Local Government Association, the WLGA.
This timely report acts as a wake up call on the true severity of the current and long-term financial crisis in public spending in Wales. Such large cuts, in addition to those already made ,will be difficult to achieve without affecting the range and the quality of services. Councils may be forced to cut, or scale back, spending on a vast array of services. Local government in Wales faces a hugely challenging fiscal situation for many years to come, and we will need to innovate, and we will need to mitigate against the negative effects of spending cuts and welfare reforms.
– Cllr Aaron Shotton, WLGA Spokesperson for Finance