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£73 million in county council reserves

Powys County Council

AT the end of March, Powys County Council had £73.160 million sitting in various “reserve budgets” with £10.037 million in its “general reserve.”

The financial report on the final position of the council’s 2023/2024 budget at the end of March will be discussed by councillors at a meeting of the Finance Panel on Monday July 8.

The reserves received £11.156 million over the course of the year with £5.950 million used.

This means the balance went up by £5.206 million from the position reported at the end of March 2023.

The report explains: “Throughout the year, the forecast out turn reports have included the expected draw on this reserve for those grants added to the reserve in previous years, to cover the expected expenditure against the various grants.”

Grants received during 2023/2024 have now been added to the reserves.

The report said that the council is also holding £4.6 million in reserve to deal with any “risk” that council staff pay awards, which are settled nationally, are “higher” than what Powys calculated for in this year’s (2024/2025) budget.

Due to high borrowing costs last year, the council rowed back on building projects which allowed the capital finance reserve to “grow” by £1.1 million.

The report also notes that £3.5 million has been set aside to deal with “budget demands” coming from council departments this year.

However, one dark cloud in the report is the School reserves which is nearly exhausted.

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The report shows that schools drew on £5.804 million from a total reserve of £6.295 million – this leaves just £491,000 left in the school’s kitty.

The report said: “We will review all specific reserves in the new financial year to ensure that they remain relevant and required for use in the near future, with any that are not, being transferred to the general fund reserve.”

Comments from the Finance Panel are expected to be added to the report which will go on to a meeting of the Cabinet at the end of the month.