Welsh Government announced their decision to cut £146m in the budget next year for local government in Wales, an average of 3.4% in cash support. This will mean that here in Cardiff, the City Council will have to make a further saving of £45m in addition to the £48m in the current year (and £120m over the last 5 years).
A reduction in funding support from Central Government puts even more pressure on budgets and local services that have already felt the strain of five years of cuts when Cardiff is experiencing rapid population growth and greater demands on public services.
As of yet, we don’t know what settlement has been agreed beyond 2015/16 but we are pressing Welsh Government for financial plan.
Despite the current position we remain committed to engaging with the people of Cardiff in the difficult choices ahead. Via initiatives such as the Cardiff Debate, we will be working with citizens and partners on a range of budget proposals over the coming months. The results of which will help us to drive new ways of service delivery.
Cardiff Debate Results and Launch of New Website
The first stage of the Cardiff Debate has now been completed! These initial events were aimed at raising awareness of some of the challenges we face in delivering public services in Cardiff and to engage people in conversations about their priorities and ideas for doing things differently.
Since the end of June we have undertaken over 37 events across Cardiff in every electoral ward, as well as a number of city-wide events such as the International Food & Drink Festival, Pride Cymru and Tafwyl.
To date, over 6,500 votes have been cast on which services mattered most to people (with 16 categories/services to choose from) with the top 3 city-wide priorities being health services (12.9%), education and skills (9.8%) and keeping children safe (9.5%).
To view the results for your area, please visit the Gallery Page on the new Cardiff Debate website.
In addition we have also carried out an on-line survey and Ask Cardiff survey which has received over 3000 responses and we have received over 2500 ideas of how we can do things differently in the future.
Dates for Part 2 of the Cardiff Debate will be announced in due course!
Made in Cardiff
I had the pleasure of attending the Made in Cardiff launch on Wednesday night. Made in Cardiff is a new digital television channel created specifically for Cardiff. The channel will broadcast daily news and magazine programmes about the city.
Made in Cardiff has now started broadcasting live on Freeview channel 23 and also appears on Sky channel 134 and Virgin Media channel 159.
Cardiff Internet Exchange
We are now at the final stages of launching our very own internet exchange here in Cardiff! I was invited to the official launch of IXCardiff in the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday which was attended over 100 people from organisations including; the BBC, Cardiff Business Council and many UK wide ICT companies. Above you can see me pictured with John Souter, CEO of provider LINX.
At present, internet traffic in South Wales has to be sent via London. Local internet service providers pay to connect to London which is costly.
This internet exchange has significant benefits to our city and for the rest of Wales, cutting costs for local internet providers, making our city more attractive to investors and businesses. The UK Government has pledged £6.8m towards the programme and has dedicated £600,000 of it to ensure smaller businesses are also connected to the exchange.
With this development in digital infrastructure, becoming even more super-connected will enables the Welsh Capital to compete against other financial centres across the world.
Below I’m pictured with the our council’s Super Connected Cardiff Team and Susan Krouwell (Department for Culture, Media and Sport).
Mipim Uk – Olympia
This year MIPIM UK was held in Olympia, London between 15th to 17th October. MIPIM UK is the 1st UK property trade show gathering all professionals looking to close deals in the UK property market: investors, developers, local authorities, occupiers, hotel groups, agents and business service providers.
Cardiff had a large presence at the property show where the Cardiff interactive model was on display and we created considerable media attention. As Leader of the Council, I was delighted to attend and speak with potential investors about the Cardiff offer.
Youth Council Summit
Last week I was invited to speak at the Cardiff Youth Council Summit as part of European Democracy Week. The event held at The Old Library, City Centre was one of many youth conferences taking place across the UK and indeed Europe!
The Summit was aimed at enabling young people to increase their understanding of local democratic processes in Cardiff and to have an opportunity to discuss current council themes with the Cabinet as part of the Cardiff Debate.
Over 50 young people aged between 11 and 25 from different backgrounds took part, some of whom came from schools in Cardiff. 11 in total! We also had college and university students as well as the unemployed. Young people were given the opportunity to discuss in groups with peers, Cabinet and Assistant Cabinet Members, a range of issues including; getting more people in Cardiff to vote in elections, ways to engage young people about decisions that affect them and preparing young people to be active citizens.
Throughout the event, two artists from People Around Here were busy creating a ‘graphic facilitation’ of the feedback received. The end result was incredible! We hope to display the artwork in County Hall shortly.
Above you can see me pictured with Rob Green, Chair of Cardiff Youth Council. Along with Rob, members of the Council’s Partnership Team and Cabinet Members were on hand to facilitate the group discussions and answer questions.