September 20, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

A surplus of £730,000 is being forecast for the Powys County Council end of year position on its budget of £279.8 million.
But work on addressing a predicted £38 million needed in cuts and savings by 2026 needs to start.
At the council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, July 27, the financial forecast for  following the first quarter of 2021/22 was reported to councillors
Cllr Aled Davies said: “We keep a really close eye on the finances of the council as we progress through the year, this is for April, May and June.
“Our overall position is ok.
“There’s a slight surplus of £750,000 (sic)  on a base budget of just under £280 million.
“It’s good news on the face of it but it does involve significant cost pressures of almost £5.3 million which is balanced by underspends in other areas.”
Cllr Davies pointed out the cuts and savings of nearly £13.4 million that need to be made this financial year to balance the budget.
The report indicates that so far,  just under £4million of these has been made, with assurance given to cabinet that a further £6.820 million have been found.
This leaves £2.6 million yet to be identified.
Cllr Davies said: “I know it’s relatively early in the year but there’s still concern,  and it needs focussing on to make sure we deliver those savings.”
Cllr Davies said that it was “good to know” that the Welsh Government Hardship Fund “which has been vital” has been extended to March 31, 2022.
This fund  provides funding for Welsh local authorities to deal with the costs of the pandemic.
Cllr Davies said: “Even though we have had the support from the Welsh and UK Government we’re still facing and almost £40million deficit over the next five years which we do need to address.
“It’s what Jane (Thomas Head of Finance) and I will be focussed on over the next months and years.”
Head of finance, Ms Thomas stressed that the £8million surplus on last year’s council budget should be seen as a one off
Ms Thomas said: “It was very welcome at the time and will benefit us to get through the situation, but it does not help us address our long-term funding issues.
“We have to focus on the longer term.”
Ms Thomas explained that part of this work will include council services understanding what the ongoing longer-term impact of coronavirus will be on Powys residents, and how it will impact  on demand for services.
She believed that the council would in future need to “embed” this understanding into how it manages its finances.
The report was noted by the cabinet.

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