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FINANCIAL chiefs in Blaenau Gwent are predicting the authority will end the current financial year £4.65 million better off than predicted.

This means that that Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s overall budget of £158.032 million for 2021/22 could come in at £153.319 million by March 31.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Budget monitoring committee on Monday March 7, chief officer for resources, Rhian Hayden took councillors through the financial position as it stood at the end of December 2021.

Ms Hayden said:

“Overall the report shows that there is a significant favourable variance compared to budget of £4.65 million.

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“That represents an increase in the forecast of £1.8 million since the previous report for quarter two.”

At the end of September Ms Hayden had predicted that Blaenau Gwent would be £2.814 million better off.

Ms Hayden told the committee that funding “in excess” of £5 million to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic had been given to the council from the Welsh Government’s Hardship Fund.

She added that £3.2 million of the £4.65 million could be attributed to social services and the application of “grants offsetting” costs to core services.

Another factor, contributing to the savings from social services is the considerable wage and on cost savings from having so many vacant posts at the moment.

But there are still parts of the council that are losing money.

Ms Hayden said that most significant of which are legal fees in social services, which is £363,000.

Education  lost £95,000 in relation to staffing costs.

And £334,000 from waste services.

She added that there were action plans in place to “address these cost pressures.”

A loss of income worth £1.1 million was also expected from the community care and continuing health care funding.

Councillors approved the report which will go on to be discussed at a meeting of the Executive committee on Wednesday, March 16.

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