IN one of the most challenging years for local government finances ever, Powys County Council could end the 2020/21 financial year close to a balanced position.
At their cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 16, councillors were told that the £269,440 million budget could come in £1.061 million under budget
But when the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Schools delegated budgets are added, the figures from December 31, 2020, change to a calculation of £570,000 over budget.
This is less than the £1.15 million deficit position which was reported at the end of September.
When the financial impacts of Covid were first being discussed, it had been feared that a £12 million black hole would be ripped open in PCC’s budget.
Head of finance, Jane Thomas, said: “Reflecting on where we were at the beginning of the year, it’s really pleasing to see that we’ve been able to manage our budget as well as we have this year, and appreciate the support we have received through the Welsh and UK Government to do that.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, we have had confirmation from the Welsh Government will continue for the remainder of this year.
“But as yet, we have received no confirmation at all as to what level of funding we could receive if the if the pandemic continues on into the next financial year.”
Ms Thomas added that this had been in mind when putting together the budget for 2021/22 which had been approved in draft by the cabinet last month and will go to a council meeting for a decision on Thursday, February 25.
Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, (Independent – Llangynidr) said: “The budget is an unwieldy animal covering many areas of service.
“I’m impressed in the way we bring this budget in at the end of the year.”
The cabinet noted the budget position.
- The Welsh Government Local Authority Hardship Fund has given Powys £9.3 million, and claims for £2 million in lost income such as car parking revenue have been submitted.
- Extra funding of over £8 million that can be used on covid costs in education such as catch up support or extra cleaning equipment have been received from the Welsh Government.
- PCC has also received £567,092 from the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme for staff that have been put on furlough leave.
- The report also shows that with the council working in emergency mode and some areas being shut down had seen £15.789 million not being spent.
- But other parts of the authority such as social services had seen extra costs totalling an extra £8.057 million than usual.
- The report expects the cuts/savings target of £10.79 million built into this years budget to be missed with the shortfall expected to be £2.582 million and £1.6 million of this will be rolled into the 2021/22 budget.