AS a worst case scenario Powys County Council might need to find over £82m in cuts and savings over the next five years.

At a meeting of council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, 19 September, finance chiefs painted a bleak picture as they set out the latest version of the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Finance portfolio holder Labour’s Cllr David Thomas said that other councils are already considering “ceasing” all non-essential services and reducing core services, cutting back on building schemes and looking to increase Council Tax, other fees, and charges, “in line with inflation or even higher.”

Cllr Thomas said: “I think we’re fortunate in perhaps being a step ahead in starting on our programme of Sustainable Powys which will hopefully address many of these issues we face.

“Our revised modelling creates a £16.3 budget gap for next year and a cumulative gap of £43.4 million.

“The worst case scenario sees the cumulative figure increase to £82.3 million at the end of year five, but I emphasise this is a worst case scenario hopefully it won’t come to pass.”

He explained that the response to the challenge would be the reimagining of council services now called “Sustainable Powys.”

Cllr Thomas said: “Our work has gained momentum over the summer months.

“As this work progresses throughout the autumn, proposals will be developed for consideration before inclusion in our budget plan.”

The report shows that Council Tax increases are modelled to be five per cent each year, but Cllr Thomas stressed that the cabinet had “not yet discussed” the level it will be set for next year’s budget and the figure is for “illustrative purposes at this stage.”

Cabinet member for a connected Powys, Liberal Democrat Cllr Jake Berriman said: “This makes sober reading. We saw through good financial management that we’re on track for a £3.7 million surplus based on the first quarter, that can disappear in the blink of an eye.”