Cardiff Council's Budget Proposals Revealed


A budget which safeguards schools and education, helps create new jobs, builds much-needed council homes, and is designed to help Cardiff become a Stronger, Greener and Fairer city - has been revealed by Cardiff Council. 

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Earlier in the year the council consulted citywide on how it could bridge a £24m funding shortfall in its budget. Residents were asked for their views on several cost-saving proposals and money-generating ideas which could help safeguard the services they felt were most important to them. 

Almost 6,000 people took part in the six-week consultation which asked a wide range of questions, including:

  • Whether libraries, hubs, and recycling centres should close on certain days or reduce hours to save money
  • Whether they supported allowing an external promoter to run St David's Hall - which could save up to £0.8m a year in annual subsidies
  • Turning the Museum of Cardiff into a mobile operation to save £266k
  • Raising charges on items like residents' parking, and burials and cremations.


Now, following that consultation, the council is bringing forward proposals which will bridge the £24m funding shortfall in its budget while focussing on what residents say is most important to them.

The proposals include setting any Council Tax rise at 3.95% - well below the rate of inflation and around £1 a week for a Band D household. This would be one of the lowest council tax increases seen in Wales this year.

Schools would receive an extra £25m a year to help deal with rising costs, and Adults and Childrens Social Services an extra £23m. The Museum of Cardiff would remain open in the Old Library on the Hayes for now and opening hours at Hubs and Libraries would also stay the same but plans to investigate a proposal by Academy Music Group to take over St David's Hall, which would safeguard the classical and community calendar of events while also upgrading the hall, would be fully investigated under the budget proposals.  59% of respondents to the consultation supported this option.

Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "Almost double the number of people took part in this year's consultation. I've little doubt they were motivated by the cost-of-living crisis and the impact it is having across the nation. They wanted this council to know the services that matter most to them and the ones they want us to safeguard. The services that make a difference to their lives, their children's lives, and their wider families' lives. It was clear that education and help for the most vulnerable, and for those living in our most deprived areas were high on theirlist.

"We have reflected on our residents' views when deciding which consultation options to take forward. In respect of Hubs and Libraries, proposals to reduce opening hours and/or close on weekends have not been taken forward. Any changes are being limited to removing a small number of long-term vacant posts in the service.

"In respect of school meals, Cabinet have reduced a proposed price increase to 5% (consultation was based on a 10% price increase due to rising food costs). If agreed by Full Council this will mean that we will continue to provide a significant subsidy of this service across our schools."  

"Finally, the proposal to reduce the offer at the Museum of Cardiff and/or switch to a mobile-based service has been removed. Instead, we will work with the trustees of the museum to secure a sustainable future, including looking at options for delivering the service at an alternative location."

Most of the council's annual budget (74%) comes from Welsh Government grant. The remaining 26% comes from Council Tax. The majority of the council's budget - around two thirds (66%) - is spent on running schools and social services. Without council tax increases many of the other important services the council delivers, like libraries and hubs, could be lost or face severe cuts.

Just as household budgets have been squeezed by rising costs and inflation so too has the council's budget. It will cost the council £76m more to deliver the services residents have come to expect in 2023/24, but even with a 9% increase from Welsh Government, the additional funding available to help meet these costs is £52m - leaving a £24m funding shortfall which needs to be met.

Cabinet member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr Chris Weaver, said: "We are really conscious of the cost-of-living crisis, which is being felt by people across the city, but without raising council tax we just wouldn't be able to safeguard the services that are important to our residents. This will be among the lowest increases in Council Tax in Wales, well below inflation, but it will bring in an extra £6.5m. Crucially, this increase will help us maintain the services our citizens have come to rely on. Equally importantly, anyone who is struggling to pay and is eligible will be able to access support through the Council Tax reduction scheme.

"Of course, this rise in council tax doesn't mean we won't have to make savings.We will continue to streamline our processes and next year we will make £10.1m in efficiency savings, £4.8 in corporate savings, and a further and £2.8m in service change proposals. These savings come on top of over £200m we have cut from our budget over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, around 173 posts will be lost across the council, most of these will be made up from voluntary severance and removing vacant roles, but it is very clear to me that austerity isback - although in truth it feels like it never went away."

The £2.8m in service change proposals are distinct from efficiency savings in that they have an impact on existing levels of service. Service change proposals are consulted on. For some proposals consultation involves a specific organisation or group of service users who are specifically affected by a proposal. Other proposals have been the subject of city-wide consultation.

Cllr Weaver added: "I do want residents to know that we have listened to their views, and we are bringing forward proposals which will safeguard the services that mean the most to them - education, safeguarding the vulnerable, and social care. And we are doing this all while delivering on our five-year capital programme which is focussed on bringing new jobs to the city, improving public transport links, building much-needed council homes, and making Cardiff a stronger, greener and fairer city."

The budget proposals would see:

  • Museum of Cardiff remain open in a physical location
  • Libraries and Hubs would remain open under the current arrangements
  • Recycling centres would close on one day of the week
  • Plans would progress on seeking external partners to run St David's Hall, and the White Water Rafting Centre
  • Any increase on school meals would be limited to 5% which is half the 10% rise which was consulted on
  • The cost of cremation would increase by 5.1% and burial by 6.8%
  • Resident Parking Permits would increase to first permit £24 & second £54 (currently £7.50 and £30.00)
  • Hire of sports pitches would increase by 10%
  • Pay and display parking would increase by 50p a visit on street and by £1 in council car parks


The budget consultation showed that:

  • 73% of respondents agreed with protecting school budgets
  • 72% supported protecting Hubs and library services in areas of highest disadvantage
  • 46% supported closing recycling centres on one day a week, with 40% supporting a reduction in opening hours
  • 59% supported the proposal to find a new partner to run St David's Hall with 26% against
  • 77% supported the proposal to find a new partner to run the White Water Rafting Centre with 8% against
  • 30% wanted to limit any increase in school meals to 5% with 21% supporting a 10% price increase
  • 57.1% supported taking the Museum of Cardiff out of the Old Library and making it a mobile attraction. 42.9% wanted to keep the museum open in the library and to find savings elsewhere
  • 51% supported increasing cost of first permit up to £24, with 39% supporting increasing cost of second permit to £54. 43% thought this was too high.
  • 66% supported increasing the cost of pay and display parking,
  • 63% supported increasing the cost of hiring sports pitches
  • 64% supported increasing bereavement charges.


Cardiff Council will now bring forward the full set of budget proposals - which are available to viewhere- as part of its 2023/24 budget report to Cabinet on March 2.

Before that the proposals will be scrutinised by the council's Scrutiny Committees in the week beginning Monday February 27.  A live stream of all the Scrutiny meetings on the Budget proposals will be accessible through the calendar of meetings which is available to viewhere. Just click on the calendar, then on the individual committee meeting, then the agenda where you will find the web link for the live video stream.

The proposals will then go to Cabinet for approval on the afternoon of Thursday, March 2. A live stream of that meeting will be available to viewhere.

If agreed by Cabinet, Full Council will vote on the proposals on Thursday, March 9, from 4.30pm which will also be live streamedhere.

As part of the Budget the Council will be reaffirming its commitment to investment included in its 2023/24 -2027/28, 5-year Capital programme. This programme is designed to create jobs, build more council homes and improve public transport options alongside a raft of other measures to improve the city.

It includes the following:

  • £510m investment in social housing including new council homes
  • £282m on new school builds
  • £108.2m - to develop Cardiff Cross Rail, cycle routes, improve transport infrastructure, encourage active travel and sustainability, subject to grant funding
  • £40.2m investment in existing schools infrastructure
  • £34.7m investment in Highway infrastructure
  • £220.1m on economic development initiatives, including the international sports village and new Indoor Arena (which is primarily developer funded)
  • £28.6m for disabled adaptations to help people continue to live in their own homes
  • £38.3m to address flooding and coastal erosion
  • £7.7m investment in parks and playgrounds
  • £5.9m to support recycling initiatives
  • £22.0m for neighbourhood improvements
  • £3.7m investment in leisure centres
  • £5.3m investment in children's respite provision and accommodation for Looked After Children.


You can read more here about how the Council budget works and why there is a budget shortfallhere