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Powys Council report reveals early budget surplus of £3.734 million

FOLLOWING the first financial quarter of the year, Powys County Council is set to report a predicted surplus of £3.734 million at the end of next March.

This is against its base budget of £326.621 million for 2023/2024

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet, next Tuesday, September 19, the financial position reported for the April to end of June quarter will be presented to senior councillors.

The report explains that the current position is due to the £5 million in extra cost that had been predicted not materialising.

For this risk, the council set aside £3 million in a “risk budget” to deal with financial issues as they arose.

But only £23,000 of this “risk budget” was used up to the end of June.

The report said: “The budget will be released to services if the costs materialise.

“This becomes more likely as the year progresses.”

The report also explains that an extra £900,000 in cuts and efficiencies that were not made last year have been added to the £16.5 million and also “need to be delivered.

During the three month period, the report said that £9.4 million or 54 per cent of the “cost reductions” had been achieved, but also said that it is expected that £968,000 are at risk of not being made.

This £968,000 is mainly made up from £515,000 in the Highways Transport and Recycling and £429,000 from the Planning. Property and Public Protection departments.

The report said: ” Services are being challenged as to why the position for some proposals has changed and will be required to consider mitigating action to ensure that they can deliver within the budget allocated.”

“Those services that show unachieved targets must consider what remedial action they take to mitigate the impact on the overall performance within their service, as their budget forecast must come back to a balanced position.

“At this point in the year there are opportunities to reduce spend and bring the targets back on track.”

At the end of last year, the council achieved a £6.7 million surplus on its budget.

Jane Thomas Head Of Finance

Head of finance, Jane Thomas explained that the “extremely welcome” surplus  had been used to set up a reserve budget to support – “likely pay award pressures” as well as support council building projects.

Ms Thomas said: “Our planning must now focus on the medium and longer term as we develop the Sustainable Powys programme to support our budget planning over the coming months.

“The immediate work will focus on bridging the budget gap for 2024/25 but will continue over many years as we transform how we support and work with our communities.”

Cabinet is expected to note the position and approve virements, money transfers between internal council accounts.