Cardiff council cuts: Pool, libraries, Flat Holm Island hit

Flat Holm island may be put up for sale by Cardiff council

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A swimming pool will be closed, school music subsidies stopped, library hours cut and even an island sold under plans to save Cardiff council £110m.

The authority will freeze council tax next year, but will cut 300 jobs and many services to balance the books.

They include closing Splott pool, selling Flat Holm Island in the Bristol Channel and ending the Big Weekend event.

There will be more money for schools and social services.

Start Quote

I am not looking to put a gloss on it or spin... there is no escaping the pain”

End Quote Russell Goodway Finance, Cardiff council

The Labour-led cabinet said cuts of £22m had to be found in the next budget and it needed to find £110m of savings during the lifetime of the current council.

It outlined some of its proposals in a full council meeting on Thursday evening.

Russell Goodway, who holds the finance portfolio in the Cardiff cabinet, told colleagues: The picture is far from rosy. I am not looking to put a gloss on it or spin. There is no escaping the pain."

Delivering proposals for the 2013-2014 budget, he said some service areas will see budgets cut by 90% by 2021.

'Serious collateral damage'

He added that there would be "serious collateral damage", with jobs hit - including 300 post closures in the next year.

Savings that will be made include:

  • Ending the subsidy of music lessons in schools, along with several other services to schools.
  • Closing the swimming pool in Splott.
  • Stopping visits to Flat Holm and selling the wildlife haven, five miles off the Cardiff coast.
  • Reducing the number of days some libraries operate.
  • Ending the Big Weekend music event.
  • Closing the Victorian public toilets in The Hayes in the city centre.
  • Welsh language grants, including for Tafwyl, Cardiff's annual Welsh festival.

Mr Goodway said that the council did not intend to close the city's riding school, which had been feared.

Instead, it was working to find an alternative operator to run the riding school on its 30-acre site in Pontcanna.

Cardiff Riding School protest Supporters of Cardiff Riding School protested outside the meeting

Staff at the riding centre - who protested outside the meeting - claimed they were sent letters telling them that the school would close on 1 April.

But Mr Goodway told councillors that the school would remain open until a new partner was found.

He also said that there would be an increase in spending for schools - but it would mean they would have to buy some of the services the authority currently provides for them.

Social services would also get an increase in their total budget, he added.

The council did have the option of increasing council tax to bring in more money, but Labour in Cardiff pledged to freeze council tax during last year's elections.

Both Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition councillors said they would wait to see "the devil in the detail" before coming to any firm decisions on the budget proposals.

But the Plaid Cymru group leader, Neil McEvoy, said the proposals were being delivered by a "right-wing Labour council" who were nothing more than "red Tories".

The budget will be put to a full council meeting at the end of February.

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