Posted: Sat 24th Feb 2024

Brighter Financial Position for Blaenau Gwent as Reserves Decrease in 2023/2024 Budget /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Feb 24th, 2024

A BRIGHTER financial position will mean less Blaenau Gwent reserves will need to be used to balance this year’s (2023/2024) budget.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, February 21, councillors received a report on how the 2023/2024 budget stood on December 31.
The report shows that the council is now predicting a surplus of £1.6 million for March 31.
This sum will increase to £2.35 million when funding from reserves is added to it.
This is an improvement of £1.38 million from how the budget stood at the end of September 2023.
When the £184.3 million budget was set last year, it had been expected that £4.2 million from reserves would need to be used to balance the budget.
The report now says that the council expects this reliance on reserves to drop to £1.85 million.
The report also explained that £2.2 million from a £3 million target in cuts and savings had been achieved by the end of December.
Council leader, Cllr Steve Thomas said: “Clearly if we look at the variances through the quarters you see some good work by the council in managing to bring that figure down.”
This improvement is due to improved rates of council tax collection, savings from delays in filling teaching posts and increased grant income.
There are action plans in place for departments that are reporting overspend positions such as Social Services.
Cllr Thomas said: “The reduced use of reserves supports financial resilience.”
He added that the work being done to lower the use of reserves in this year’s budget will help provide a “little bit more leeway” in next year’s budget.
The 2024/2025 draft budget is set to be debated next Tuesday, February 27 .
A report says that £2.1 million worth of reserves will be needed to help balance it by March 31, 2025.
Cabinet member for Social Services, Cllr Haydn Trollope said: “The one council approach we have adopted is working this is not only to save but get the best value for money.”
The councillors unanimously approved the report. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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