Powys County Council achieves budget surplus of £6.7m
Despite the cost of living crisis, Powys County Council actually finished the 2022/2023 financial year over £6.7 million to the good.
At a meeting of the council’s cabinet next Tuesday, June 20 senior councillors will receive a report on last year’s budget.
Taking schools and the housing revenue account out of the calculations the council actually spent £215.216 million of a working budget worth £221.985 million.
The position is £3.3 million better than what the council predicted at the end of February.
It follows grant funding flowing into the council’s coffers from the Welsh Government and UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.
The schools delegated budget also came in £2.649 million under budget, having spent £77.237 million of its £79.886 million allocation.
The report does show that some council departments have been struggling with children’s social services ending the year spending over £2 million more than it’s £28.587 million allocation.
According to the report this was due to the “high cost” of both the residential provision outside of Wales and agency social workers required by the department.
Head of finance, Jane Thomas said: “This year saw the council managing its budget in an extremely challenging economic environment.
“Inflation reached a 40-year high and this together with the continued impact of leaving the European Union, the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, all created supply chain issues and rising costs particularly for pay, energy, fuel, contractual and borrowing costs.
“The council responded quickly and reviewed its plans to manage the budget which were closely monitored and controlled throughout the year.”
The surplus will be used to cover costs relating to any pay awards to teachers and council staff that haven’t already been budgeted for.
Despite the positive position Ms Thomas warns that the money left over from last year will only go “some way” to address short term risk.
She fears it will not reduce the pressure on the base budget where a predicted funding gap of up to £25 million over the next four years will need to be addressed.
The report shows that the council did not hit its cuts and savings targets, with £2.8 million of the £10.55 million agreed in last year’s budget not delivered.
Ms Thomas said: “The council must continue to take every opportunity to reduce costs and limit the financial impact on its budget, reducing the financial pressure on future years and ensure the financial sustainability of the council.”
The cabinet are expected to note the position and agree a number of money transfers between internal council accounts which are known as “virements.”
Various departmental under-spends totalling just under £2.7 million need to be rolled over for future use and £468,000 is set to be moved from a transformation budget to support “transformation costs” for this year.
By BBC LDRS
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