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1% cut presents us with “severe pressure”

Created on 11/10/2018 @ 13:47
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

The Welsh Government has given Powys a kick in the teeth with its 1% budget cut next year presenting us all with “severe pressure” according to the Leader of the council.

Despite years of service cuts and the promise of more, the Senedd has delivered another blow to Powys in cutting the money it provides to the county in 2019/20.

Powys, along with along with the Isle of Anglesey, Conwy, Flintshire and Monmouthshire, received the joint poorest settlement in Wales and comes on top of the 0.4% cut to this year’s budget.

Cllr Rosemarie Harris said: “Council services are already under severe financial pressure in the county so news of another one per cent cut will do little to ease the financial strain.

“Once again the county finds itself at the bottom of the funding table and will face difficult decisions as it tries to balance levels of service delivery against the council’s ability to pay for them.

“The council has reduced spending by £41 million over the past four years and was already facing a further £13 million reduction for 2019/20.

“Today’s provisional settlement will only increase pressure on the council’s ability to deliver public services.”

On Tuesday, the Cabinet reviewed the Financial Position knowing that nearly £8 million in cuts is needed to balance the books.

A review of where to find savings and freeze department spending had been announced at a cabinet meeting in September, but that work has not yet started.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies, was asked the question by leader Cllr Harris: “How confident are we that the savings will be achieved by March?”

Cllr Davies said: “Putting right the mistakes of the past is a costly process. Clearly in some areas it’s going to be challenging, expected savings will still leave us with a £5.8 million overspend.

“We hope to see the work take affect by the next report.”

Any shortfall by the end of the financial year could see the authority forced to dip into its general reserve fund.

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