CEREDIGION County Council is facing one of the biggest funding gaps in Wales, according to figures released by Unison.
The trade union says Welsh council are facing a ‘dire’ cash crisis, totalling more than £352 million across the country.
Ceredigion has the sixth largest spending gap according to the figures, obtained through freedom of information requests, with a funding gap of £22 million for 2024/25.
Unison says many authorities will be forced to consider selling land and buildings, as well as slash services for the vulnerable and vital community resources such as waste collection, libraries and leisure centres.
The biggest funding gaps in the country are at Caerphilly County Borough Council and Cardiff Council, which are both £37m short of their spending needs for next year.
Carmarthenshire has a shortfall of £29 million, with Gwynedd facing a £2,848,630 shortfall and Powys looking expected to come 6,646,000 short.
The combined shortfall total of £352.1m in 2024/25 means Welsh local authorities will be forced to rely on virtually non-existent cash reserves. All are likely to have to make cuts to services and their workforces, says Unison.
Regardless of their overall political control, the future is bleak for councils with increased energy costs, a decade and more of reduced government funding and inflation all worsening their financial position, the union adds.
The huge scale of the budget shortfall across local government means a growing number of councils are teetering on the brink, Unison warns.
This precarious state of council budgets couldn’t come at a worse time with thousands of families ever more reliant on community services due to cost of living pressures, adds UNISON.
The shortfalls increase the risk that many authorities will consider raising their council tax as high as possible next time, says the union.
Most councils are responding to the crisis by cutting services and activities. Newport City Council has already cut back on some bin collections and rural bus services across Wales are at risk because of the lack of funding.
UNISON says Jeremy Hunt must provide extra grant funding in the chancellor's autumn statement to help weather the immediate challenges or local authorities and their communities will no longer be able to cope.
Work must also be done at pace to reform how councils are funded to tackle the huge reduction in central government resources since 2010, urges the union.
Unison Wales regional secretary Jess Turner said: “Communities rely on their local authorities for all manner of essential services, such as waste collection, social care, road repairs and parks and other open spaces.
“But councils are on their knees. Ministers seem to care very little about public services and local government has been hit hard over very many years.
“Essential services can't run on thin air. Staff levels have already been cut to the bone in desperate attempts to balance the books.
“Yet more service cuts and job losses are sadly inevitable across the country unless the government intervenes with the lifeline of significant extra funding. Not just for those on the brink, but to councils everywhere.”
2024/25 budget shortfall
Council funding gap (£)
Caerphilly (Caerffili) 37,414,000
Cardiff (Caerdydd) 36,800,000
Flintshire (Sir y Fflint) 32,222,000
Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin) 29,000,000
Swansea (Abertawe) 20,300,000
Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych) 17,021,000
Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy) 14,700,000
Newport (Casnewydd) 14,607,000
Rhondda Cynon Taf 14,383,000
Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro) 13,400,000
Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot) 10,884,000
Torfaen (Tor-faen) 10,642,000
Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful) 10,500,000
Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn) 10,100,000
Wrexham (Wrecsam) 9,900,000
Blaenau Gwent 8,792,000
Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg) 6,033,000
Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr) 1,712,000
Total funding gap 2024/25 £352,103,630