Alternative budget would keep St David's Hall run by Cardiff

13 Mar 2023

Cardiff Council’s Liberal Democrat Group says the local authority can invest more in key services, scrap certain fee rises which will hit hard-pressed families, keep St David’s Hall as a council-run facility and set a lower increase in council tax for 2023-24.
They are proposing an alternative budget which will reduce the proposed council tax rise from 3.95% down to 3.5%, but also invest more in key services.
Amongst other proposals, the Lib Dem alternative budget would:

  • Scrap the proposed £500,000 a year saving from handing the running of St David’s Hall over to a private operator, AMG
  • Offer free school transport to pupils living 2.5 miles from their school rather than 3 miles
  • Invest an additional £500,000 a year in supporting socially-necessary bus routes
  • Invest £100,000 in setting up a homelessness task force
  • Scrap a proposed 5% increase in the cost of school meals and a proposed 12.5% increase in the cost of school bus passes
  • Invest more each year in gating alleyways to cut crime
  • Invest £2.25 million more each year in highway resurfacing, footways and bus corridor improvements
  • Ensure there is sufficient funding to refurbish and re-open Pentwyn Leisure Centre, including its swimming pool
  • Shelve current plans to progress the new arena in the Bay, recognising that costs are escalating alarmingly and that continuing to progress the scheme will deprive other key council services of essential funding
  • Reduce future council borrowing

Speaking ahead of the council budget debate, Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Rodney Berman, said:

“Liberal Democrat councillors are showing that there is a way to invest more in some of the key services that matter whilst also abandoning the council’s deeply unpopular plan to hand the running of St David’s Hall over to a private company and, at the same time, still setting a lower rise in council tax in the coming year than the local authority’s Labour administration is proposing.”
Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson, Councillor Rhys Taylor said:

“We are concerned that many essential services are being starved of funds as the council obsesses with its increasingly unaffordable plan for a new arena in the Bay, even though building it will only lead to the existing arena in the city centre being lost. By shelving the council’s plan, we can invest substantially more in fixing the city’s crumbling roads and pavements as well as gating more alleyways to help cut crime in local communities.”
Liberal Democrat deputy group leader, Councillor Joe Carter, added:

“Our budget would also ensure that the full refurbishment and re-opening of Pentwyn Leisure Centre can go ahead without further delay. We also want to scrap the planned increases in the costs of school meals and school bus passes which would otherwise add to the cost-of-living crisis for many hard pressed families; set parking charges at a rate which no longer makes it cheaper to drive into the city centre and park than travel there by public transport; and scrap the proposed new booking fee for bulky waste collections which we fear could lead to more people resorting to fly-tipping.”

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