FINANCE chiefs at are pleased that by the end of September senior staff at Powys council have delivered the bulk of savings and cuts needed this financial year.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, November 21, senior councillors received an update on how the 2023/2024 budget performed during the second quarter of the year.
This runs from July to the end of September.
The report shows the council now predict achieving a surplus of £2.85 million at the end of March 2024 against its base budget of £326.621 million for 2023/2024.
This is £880,000 less than the surplus position of £3.73 million that was being reported at the end of June.
As part of the budget, £16.5 million of cuts and savings need to be made this year, and the report explains that £10.8 million or 62 per cent have already been delivered.
A further £5.7 million or 33 per cent is expected by the end of next March.
Finance portfolio holder, Labour’s Cllr David Thomas said: “It’s just worth noting that this is one of the best performances at quarter two for quite some time with regard to cost reductions.
“Even with that said, there is still further work to be done and services are being challenged as to why the wider proposals in some areas have changed.”
He added that some departments had to consider what “mitigation” and “remedial action” they need to take to ensure they stay within their budget.
Head of finance, Jane Thomas said: “The council is managing it’s in year position.
“It’s pleasing to see the delivery of savings being ensured by heads of service.”
She added that work to transform the council – now known as sustainable Powys – is ” increasing at pace” with proposals to be finalised in time for next year’s budget setting process.
Ms Thomas said: “We cannot underestimate how much we are going to potentially have to change how the council operates and delivers (services) at a much lower cost.”
She added that the Powys public would be “informed and consulted” as the council moves forward with that programme.
Cabinet member for a connected Powys, Liberal Democrat Cllr Jake Berriman said: “Whether it’s a council, schools or private business we all need to live within our means.
“We need to adjust what we do and that does mean that we need to considerably re-shape our service offer otherwise we would become insolvent.
“We need to carry our staff with us, and they will need to help us adapt to the changing times ahead, we are preparing for that change.”
Cabinet agreed the report and a number of inter council money transfers known as virements.
A virement of £1.8million also needs to be moved to the base budget from an underspend on the cost of borrowing in the capital programme, to cover the teaching pay increase agreed nationally.
As this money movement is above the £500,000 threshold it needs to be agreed by all councillors at a full council meeting.