County council’s budget for financial year set at £238m

By Alex Jones in Politics

GWYNEDD Council will have £238 million at their disposal for the new financial year.

County councillors approved the authority’s budget for the 2017/18 financial year at a meeting of the full council on 2 March.

Over the coming 12 months, the council forecasts that it will need £238m to deliver a wide-range of local services, with £169m of this sum funded through a grant from the Welsh Government.

Last year, the council agreed on a comprehensive plan to address the significant shortfall it faces due to sustained cuts in the government funding it receives to deliver for local services.

At that time, it was forecast that Gwynedd’s council tax would need to increase by 3.97 per cent for two years running to help avoid drastic cuts to vital services.

However, this figure has since been dropped to 2.8 per cent.

Cllr Peredur Jenkins, Gwynedd Council Cabinet member for resources, said: “There’s no denying that these remain extremely difficult times for councils across the country.

“It is a fact that the amount of money Gwynedd Council receives from the government to pay for local services has fallen over recent years whilst the cost of delivering these services has continued to rise.

“In Gwynedd we have set a long-term course for dealing with this significant funding squeeze.

“It is pleasing to note that the latest independent report by the Wales Audit Office confirms that the ‘council has strong financial planning arrangements in place supported by well-considered savings plans’.

“This pro-active approach to tough times is bearing fruit with £4.3m of efficiency savings approved and a further £1.1m set to be delivered in the year ahead.

“In addition, whilst we’d prefer not to have to consider such measures, we will be implementing £1.9m of service cuts targeted on what local people told us during the Gwynedd Challenge public consultation exercise.

“This work means that we can avoid implementing any additional cuts in the year ahead beyond what has already been agreed.

“The council has also been able to successfully prove to the Welsh Government that it costs more to run public services care for vulnerable people in their own homes in large rural counties.

“This work will mean that Gwynedd will now receive a fairer share of national funding for our area, although it is important to remember that this improved grant settlement does not come close to addressing the overall funding gap facing the council.

“These combined factors, along with the council’s sound financial management, means that councillors have been able to set a budget of £231m and to limit the 2017/18 council tax increase to 2.8 per cent. This equates to an annual increase of £33.80 for a Band D property, or 65 pence a week.”

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