A SURPLUS of just over £2.3 million was reported by Powys County Council on the budget for last year.

This figure will fall to £1.793 million when money is taken away from the total to be squirrelled away in council reserve accounts.

The details of the surplus for 2023/2024 will be given in a report to councillors at a meeting of the Finance Panel.

The 2023/2024 budget on 31 March shows that the financial position during the last quarter of the year from January to March deteriorated with the position being just over £1 million worse than had been predicted at the end of December.

At that stage, the council was predicting a £3.338 million surplus against the council’s base budget of £326.621 million for 2023/2024.

During the course of the financial year the budget has fluctuated with a £3.73 million surplus predicted at the end of June last year – which fell to £2.85 million at the end of last September.

The report said: “This year again saw the council managing its budget in an extremely challenging economic environment.

“High inflation and pay awards have continued to impact costs across all services, although on the whole this has been managed well through mitigating action and the utilisation of the risk budget.”

The report also shows that the council services found cuts, savings, and efficiencies worth £15.373 million of an original target of £16.5 million for the year.

A further £900,000 from the 2022/2023 savings target has been rolled over to this year making the total savings/cuts target £17.4 million for 2023/2024.

Despite the surplus, director of corporate service and s151 officer Jane Thomas will still advocate that the council continues a cautious and prudent approach, with a predicted funding gap of £50 million still needing to be plugged over the next four years.

Ms Thomas said: “The revenue out turn reported provides some opportunity to further mitigate the ongoing budget pressures through the next financial year.

“However, the council faces significant challenge as we develop our plans for future years.

“The financial plans will be subject to ongoing review, funding assumptions will be revisited as more information becomes available, revised budget gaps calculated and clear plans of how we can bridge the gaps will be developed.

“We must continue to take every opportunity to reduce costs and ensure the financial sustainability of the council.”