Council ends financial year £7.4m to the good

By Elgan Hearn   |   Local democracy reporter   |
Wednesday 6th July 2022 2:07 pm
Stock photo of cash notes
(Pixabay )

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GOOD news for Powys County Council – as they ended the 2021/22 financial year over £7. 4million to the good, but they now need to use it “wisely” a councillor said.

This is on a working budget of £202.619m.

The schools delegated budget also came in £6.289m under budget, having spent £70.899m of its £77.188m allocation.

The £7.4m is what’s left after money is squirrelled away into reserve accounts as well as set aside to fund building projects, reducing the cost of council/borrowing.

At a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, 5 July councillors were told that the financial position had improved during the last quarter of the financial year after the council received substantial grants from the Welsh Government.

Cabinet member for finance and corporate transformation, Cllr David Thomas said: “I’m pleased to report that the financial year concluded in a surplus position.

“The deficit projected in quarter three was avoided due to significant additional funding from Welsh Government with £13.574m received through the last quarter of the year.

“It could have been very different without that support.

“It’s been instrumental in improving the council’s financial position.

“But it is important to note that it’s not recurring and will be used to support one-off cost to aid our recovery and meet short term additional demand helping remove some of the short-term risk in our budget for 2022/23.

“Using it wisely will go some way to easing the ongoing pressure on the council’s budget.”

He added that due to support from both the Welsh and UK governments the financial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic had been “effectively managed”.

Council leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt said: “In terms of finance it’s highly unlikely we’ll see the level of support that local authorities received from the Welsh Government being repeated in the future.”

Head of finance Jane Thomas said: “With rising costs, inflation, and supply chain issues we are facing financial challenges like many organisations

“We will be monitoring the position extremely carefully as we move through the year.

“The reserves we have set aside will help us manage that risk.”

The report shows that £500,000 from school reserve had been expected to be used but instead they have been able to put £5.7m into their reserves.

Cabinet voted to approve the report which recommended moving the money into specific reserves and that funding generated from selling old council vehicles is used to buy more environmentally friendly vehicles.

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