Rhondda Cynon Taf's cuts plan to save £56m after budget

image captionRhondda Cynon Taf said it must save £56m over the next four years

One of Wales' largest councils is the latest to announce proposed cuts after the Welsh government revealed local authorities' funding will be cut in 2014.

Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) said it must save £56m over the next four years.

It is proposing to shut more than half its libraries, close day centres and start children later at nursery school.

Last week the Welsh government's draft budget revealed local government funding will be cut by 5.81%.

On Wednesday, the Welsh government will announce how much money individual local authorities will receive next year.

RCT council - whose budget for 2012/13 was £436.9m - has proposed children start full time school aged four, not three, saving £4.5m a year.

Fourteen of its 26 libraries have also been earmarked for closure, which would save £800,000 a year.

'Severe impact'

They include Treherbet, Ton Pentre, Penygraig, Ynyshir, Maerdy, Cwmbach, Penrhiwceiber, Ynysybwl, Cilfynydd, Tonyrefail, Nantgarw, Beddau and Pontyclun.

Proposed changes to youth services could save £2.2m, while £300,000 could be cut by ending the delivery of meals-on-wheels at the weekend.

Closing 10 of the 19 day centres in RCT would recoup £600,000 a year, the authority says.

Council leader Anthony Christopher blamed any proposed cuts on the UK government's "reduced funding to Wales".

"This really is an Armageddon scenario for local government which will have a severe impact on local services," he said.

"No community in our area will be left unaffected during these difficult times."

He said such "savage cuts" to public sector funding has forced the council to consider its options in bridging the budget gap.

Mr Christopher said it will probably have to save more than the estimated figure of £56m.

"As stated previously, these initial set of proposals are certainly not ones which councillors would want to have to decide whether they should initiate a consultation on but the council has to consider alternatives to existing service levels when faced with the significant impact the UK government's austerity measures are having on local government funding in Wales," he added.

Leanne Wood, AM for South Wales Central and Plaid Cymru leader, said proposed cuts would "hit the most vulnerable sections of society".

She added: "The cuts to nursery provision will hit families with parents in work hard as they will have to foot the bill for another year of childcare, putting a strain on household budgets that are, in so many cases, stretched to breaking point as it is.

"This will hamper access to work for many parents and in some cases, jeopardise their continued employment."

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