Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Cabinet has agreed a number of difficult services changes to the bridge the funding shortfall it faces as a result of the UK Government's Austerity Measures.
At this meeting (Wednesday, May 14), the Cabinet agreed to give further consideration to the future of Leisure Services in the County Borough.
County Borough Councillor Paul Cannon QPM, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: "There is no easy solution in these tough financial circumstances. Our funding has been dramatically reduced by the Government in London, and this will mean that difficult and unfortunately unpopular decisions were necessary today and will be required in the future.
"It must be remembered, however, that even after these tough decisions, the level of provision offered in Rhondda Cynon Taf still compares favourably with other local authorities.
"So severe are the cuts however, from the UK Government, that we cannot avoid making tough decisions and inevitably these tough choices will affect services and ultimately our communities and there is no way of avoiding this scenario."
Summary of Phase 2 Decisions taken:
Adult Social Care
Proposal supported as outlined originally resulting in additional funding of £1.134m. This will result in the following changes:
Reduce level of disregard reduced from 40% to 5% - some Local Authorities to do not apply any disregard.
Increased charging rates for the cost of care services from £12.05 per hour to £17 per hour and £13.40 per visit to £17 per visit – this compares to the cost of providing services of £17.50 per hour and £77.37 per visit respectively.
Increased charge for Tier 1 Telecare Services from £1.58 to £2.35 per week reflecting the cost to the Council of providing the service.
Introducing a consistent approach for charging for EMI residential care between internally and externally run homes.
Introduce a consistent approach to respite care charging based on a financial assessment of service user’s ability to pay.
Proposal supported as outlined originally resulting in a full year saving of £0.350m.
This will result in the closure of the Cynon Valley Museum and the cessation of the SLA with Pontypridd Town Council for Pontypridd Museum.
Rhondda Heritage Park will be retained, with consistent opening times throughout the year and developed into the Heritage hub for RCT along with outreach work. Members agreed that the Council should seek to support groups or volunteers interested in taking forward the Cynon Valley Museum.
Arts and Culture
Proposal to go through as outlined originally resulting in a full year saving of £0.4m.
This will result in the closure of the MUNI and the retention of two iconic theatres in the Coliseum and Park and Dare, more than many other local authorities operate.
Proposal to go through as outlined originally with a slight concession in terms of an element of funding being made available to Community Travel Providers.
This will result in a full year saving of £0.4m.
Proposal to go through as originally outlined and will result in a full year saving of £0.181m
This proposal will be deferred
There is need for more work to be undertaken on the proposal by officers before a decision can be made particularly in the light of consultation feedback and concerns and queries raised by the public, Members and other local politicians. It is suggested a further review should include, but not be limited to:
Options to retain facilities with amended operating arrangements
Review facilities offered at all sites
Options for amending opening hours
Assessing any community-based opportunities
Review the level of our charges
Proposal to go through as originally outlined. This will result in a full year saving of £0.3m. Implementation would see:
Part night lighting of all streetlights in non residential areas
Part night lighting of alternate streetlights in residential areas
Maintained lighting in potentially sensitive areas but to review the level of provision and implement alternate options between midnight and 5am where feasible
Unlike some local authorities, there will be no blanket switching off of street lights.