Posted: Wed 7th Feb 2024

Caerphilly Council Reassures Residents Amidst English Councils’ Budget Crisis

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 7th, 2024

Caerphilly Council’s top finance officer has reassured residents the local authority is not in danger of following several English councils into a major budget crisis.
In the face of “unprecedented financial challenges”, Caerphilly Council has warned that several local authorities in England have already issued so-called Section 114 notices, effectively announcing that they are unable to deliver a balanced budget.
It is “anticipated that a number of other councils will issue Section 114 notices moving forward”, according to Caerphilly Council’s draft budget proposals.
At a meeting of the council’s voluntary sector liaison committee on Tuesday (February 6), councillor Judith Pritchard asked head of financial services Steve Harris to explain the Section 114 process and “reassure” Caerphilly residents.
Section 114 notices are issued when a council “cannot balance its budget”, he replied.
In such a situation, a council then has a “short window of opportunity” to develop a recovery plan, and if that fails a team of “commissioners” is called in to take over running the local authority until it can “turn the balance around”.
Despite news of a number of councils – a Caerphilly Council report names Birmingham, Croydon, Northumberland, Nottingham, Slough and Thurrock – issuing Section 114 notices, Mr Harris said none in Wales had done so to date.
This was partly because Welsh councils were “more heavily reliant” on central government funding, he suggested.
Generally speaking, he said councils that had issued Section 114 notices may have experienced financial difficulties arising from “risky” investments, pay awards, and rising costs of social care and temporary accommodation for homeless people.
Those last two cost issues are “the same in Wales”, Mr Harris explained, adding that while he could not speak on behalf of other councils regarding their finances, local authorities would “all be watching closely” if the Welsh Government was required to step in anywhere in future.
Caerphilly’s budget proposals for 2024/25 include the use of £11 million of the council’s reserves, and warnings the authority must address a £46m funding gap over the next two years.
But despite that bleak outlook, Mr Harris insisted there was no need to worry about Caerphilly Council pressing the panic button – and councillor Teresa Parry warned colleagues against “scaremongering”.
“I’m not in a position to consider issuing a Section 114 notice at this time,” Mr Harris reassured the committee. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales



More from Caerphilly County Borough Council

Caerphilly Council Learns Lessons Following Series of Complaints About Bin Collections and Litter

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Caerphilly School’s Kitchen Extension Plan Rejected by Council

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Parking Restrictions in Caerphilly County Borough Could Be Extended to 8pm, Despite Concerns

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Petrol Station in Blackwood Seeks Alcohol Licence

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Electrification of Cardiff-Rhymney Railway Line Set for Completion by Autumn 2025

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Councils to Play Central Role in Changes to 20mph Speed Limits in Welsh Roads, Says Caerphilly Senedd Member

Caerphilly County Borough Council

Latest from News.Wales

Public Consultation Launched for ‘No-Gas’ Housing Development Near Maesteg

Bridgend Council

Opponents of Proposed “Super-Estate” in Wrexham Call for Public Meeting

Wrexham Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Fear of Diluted Local Voice in Vale of Glamorgan Community Council Changes

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council