Almost a quarter of the cuts and savings proposed for last year’s Powys County Council budget have not been realized, a report has revealed.
At a board finance committee meeting on Friday, October 8, advisers will review savings and reductions for 2020/21, including those that will be written off and others that have been carried over to future budgets.
When the 2020/21 budget was set in March 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the council expected to make ‘cost cuts’ of £ 12.394million.
The report shows that £ 9.453million or 76% of those targets have been met, but not £ 2.941million.
An additional £ 1.634million has been written off and £ 1.744million will be carried over to be realized in the future.
These figures are higher than the £ 2.94million, as social service budgets have improved from forecast according to the report.
The report which will be presented to the panel’s fundraising portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies, explains that the Welsh government provided additional funding in February 2021 in recognition of the failure of local authorities to realize all the savings in 2020/21.
It came from a fund to help local authorities respond to the pandemic and Powys’ received £ 1,093,201.
The report states, “This funding is non-recurring and has provided welcome support for 2020/21, but cost reductions are recurring in the councils core budget.
“The report explains that removing savings and cost reductions that” remain unachievable “is” appropriate. ”
At the start of the pandemic, in a worst-case scenario, the council would have potentially spent more than £ 12million in 2020/21
But having received more than £ 23million in funding from the Welsh government to deal with various aspects of the pandemic, the advice actually ended up with £ 8.349million under budget.
Among the proposals that were deemed impractical, some are:
- £ 380,000 – Review of funding for children’s social services.
- £ 179,000 – Review of funding for adult social care.
- £ 192,431 – Children’s social services, less reliance on agency staff.
- £ 60,000 – renegotiating a contract to remove equipment from recycling centers.
- £ 34,209 – from Brecon’s future Y Gaer operating budget – this could change if potential partners to use the building are brought in.
Some of the cost reductions brought to this exercise are:
- £ 200,000 – Digital Transformation Program.
- £ 69,990 – Reduction in business phone contracts.
- £ 38,410 – Review of fleet maintenance resources.
- £ 130,000 – Provision of winter service on motorways.
- £ 100,000 – Consideration of increased parking fees.
- £ 62,100 – Strategic Real Estate Income Goal.
- £ 55,480 – Increased rental income from properties such as Ladywell House in Newtown, business units and the County Farms estate.
- £ 141.10 – leaving Neuadd Maldwyn at Welshpool.
- £ 190,754 – European social finance offers to support the development of the Mid Wales Growth Deal and regional economic development.