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Expect even more cuts to local council services

Created on 27/11/2019 @ 14:01
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More deeper cuts could be made to council services in Newtown and throughout the county after it emerged the council will have to make even more savings than envisaged.

To balance this year’s budget Powys County Council will throw forward possibly millions of pounds worth of cuts into the next financial year

This means that the fear of “Deeper Cuts” raised by members of the Finance Pane when they discussed PCC’s budget situation on Monday is closer to being realised.

Today, the cabinet was told that the savings that can’t be made this year will be put into next year’s budget pot.

Head of Finance Jane Thomas said:  “Based on the savings delivered at the time (October 31) our projected overspend is £2.7 million which is an improvement from what we saw in the previous month, and that is purely down to more delivery of savings we were expecting.

“Although that creates a £2.7million gap we are still expecting to deliver further savings of £2.7million which will leave us with a balanced position at the year end, based on all factors we know currently.

“Although we are heading to a balanced budget position that does create a gap in our budget plan for next year.

“And it’s something we are looking in detail now as we develop next year’s budget plan to make sure we can close that gap on a budget basis.”

The report shows that  from the end of September to the end of October an extra £1.068 million in savings was found.

This takes the estimated savings uo to £13.589 million out of a total budget savings requirement of £21.692 million for 2019/20 financial year.

But  £5.318 million is considered to be unachievable in the current financial year.

At the last cabinet meeting on November 5, it was agreed that the senior leadership team would need to come up with how to solve the unachievable savings “as a matter of urgency”.

It is expected that they will have proposals for cabinet when they meet on December 3.

But  much of the £5.318 million will go on top of the £13 million worth of cuts expected to be made next year.

Council leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, urged all cabinet members to talk to their heads of service to try to find more savings.

Putting the unachievable savings to one side, an important part for delivering a balanced budget this year is that Adult Social Care does not experience winter pressures.

The report says: “The underspend is dependent on whether Adult Social Care is able to continue to successfully manage the service pressures identified.

“These were estimated at £9.5 million but as a result of the service’s intervention only £4.246 million have materialised at this point in the year.”

Portfolio holder for adult social service, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, provided reassurance and said: “I hate to be a hostage to fortune but the service improvement plan of Adult Social Care means that the risk of delivery is spread across a number of projects, all of which are going pretty well.

“Although we have a lot of older residents, we are keeping them in their own homes and on lower cost packages longer.

“I can be reasonably confident that this will continue and in the delivery of the savings."
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