Organisations who face having their council funding slashed in the local authority’s latest budget proposals have appealed for the city’s politicians to think again, and described the details of yesterday’s announcement as representing a “sad and troubled day for the citizens of Cardiff”.
Cardiff’s finance chief Councillor Russell Goodway revealed yesterday afternoon that the authority’s 2013/2014 budget would include cuts of £22 million. This will include scrapping £550,000 worth of grants that the council has previously handed out to external organisations, including charities.
Coun Goodway said that almost all external organisations who receive funding from the council would see a grant reduction of around 10 per cent.
But the detailed grant savings document released late last night (and is embedded at the bottom of this page) showed that a number of organisations are facing much higher reductions, and some will lose their entire council subsidy.
Those who face loosing 100% of their council grants include Cardiff Shopmobility (£9,346), Families Need Fathers Both Parents Matter (£100,000), Touch Trust (£15,000), Cardiff Business Partnership (£37,500) and The Gate Arts Centre (£20,000).
Chapter Arts Centre faces having their grant cut by 43%, from £23,411 to £13,411, while Race Equality First will see £36,000 taken off three grants worth an annual total of £170,465, and Sherman Cymru will have £17,000 shaved off its £178,000 grant.
Menter Caerdydd – a charity that promotes the use of the Welsh language in Cardiff – could lose more than £33,000 with proposed cuts to three grants it usually receives from the council.
This includes all of the £20,000 the council normally puts towards the charity’s Tafwyl event – the only Welsh language festival in the city; a 10% cut to the £36,616 it receives for a play scheme for Welsh speaking children; and £10,000 from the £100,000 grant it gets for play provision in Canton, Whitchurch, Llanrumney, Rumney, Caerau, Fairwater, Splott and Gabalfa, used by 1,500 children a week.
Diverse Cymru is Cardiff-based charity that “promotes equality for all” in Wales by providing advocacy services and support for vulnerable people, including people with disabilities and mental health issues.
In 2012/2013, it received a grant of £135,000 from Cardiff Council, which makes up about 25% of the charity’s total budget.
But under the proposals revealed yesterday, it is facing a 10% cut in that grant funding, reducing the council contribution by £13,500.
Paul Warren, Diverse Cymru’s director of policy and planning, said the organisation had not expected the cut, and that it would have a significant impact on the services it provides.
Mr Warren said he had written to Cardiff Council last year to warn that the charity’s ability to fund its welfare benefits officer was already at risk. He said losing more funding – and such an officer – would mean the charity would be hampered in its work representing vulnerable people in welfare tribunals and appeals.
Additionally, Mr Warren pointed out that until now he has sat on a number of Cardiff Council committees, including the Cardiff Partnerships Board scrutiny committee, its financial inclusion sub-group, and the children and young families partnership board.
He said that due to the proposed reduction in resources, he would no longer be able to sit on these boards.
He said: “Consequently, those people’s voices will not be heard. If we are losing staff, that work has got to be picked up somewhere.”
Mr Warren added that Coun Goodway’s cuts to the third sector showed a “complete disregard for the most vulnerable in society”.
He said: “An overall cut across the sector of £554,404 must be compared with the words of Councillor Russell Goodway’s comments that the Labour administration had to make “difficult decisions” as a consequence of the UK Government’s austerity measures. Does he believe that Cardiff Council spending £1.67m a year on a new tier of senior management was a less difficult decision than ensuring the most vulnerable in Cardiff are now in a worse situation than before?
“It is clear that large sections of the community of Cardiff are now at risk of becoming even more vulnerable to poverty under these cuts. It seems neither fair nor equal to cut services to vulnerable people who will be hit the hardest, and from multiple directions.”
“All in all, a sad and troubled day for the citizens of Cardiff who will no longer receive a much needed service and will no longer have their needs relayed to those in power, who allegedly have their interests at heart.”
Andy Eagle, director of Chapter Arts Centre, said the news that their £23,000 grant would be cut by more than 40% was “very disappointing”, and he would be appealing against the proposal.
In a statement on Chapter’s website, he said: “We appreciate the financial pressures that the council is under and anticipated a cut, we were however led to believe that this would be equitable across the rest of the cultural provision across the city. Clearly it was not and we are seeking clarification on the rationale behind this decision.
“Chapter has over 800,000 visitors to the centre, presents a high quality local and international programme, directly supports the artistic community of Cardiff and Wales to realise their ambitions in theatre, dance, film and visual arts and is the focal point for the diverse communities of Canton. We will be appealing this decision.”