Posted on: Thursday 4 November 2021
Councillors will this week consider a report into Torfaen Council’s budget plans for the next financial year.
The mid-year budget review, which identifies how much the council expects to receive in 2022/2023 and what services predict they will need, is expected to reveal a potential shortfall of £1.5 million.
On Thursday, members of the Cross-Cutting Resources and Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet to discuss the report and suggest ways of reducing the funding gap through savings and mitigations.
Most of what the council spends goes on caring for people, education services and maintaining a clean and green borough.
Cllr Kelly Preston, Torfaen’s Executive Member for Resources, said: “Just like every home in the borough, the council has to manage its finances carefully preparing for what comes in and what goes out each year to ensure it balances the books.
“At the start of the each financial year in April, we start looking ahead at funding our priority services in the following year and the challenges of delivering those services and ensuring we can balance the books again.
“Like homeowners, over the course of the year we forecast and monitor what we expect will come in, what we expect to spend and what costs we expect we’ll incur.
“At the moment in building the budget for 2022/23 we are still forecasting a gap which we need to remove. Thankfully the gap we started with in April has been whittled away and we are now down to a gap of around £1.5 million.”
The Leader of Torfaen Cllr Anthony Hunt, said: “At this stage of the budget setting process we must build our budget forecast on a lot of assumptions such as how much we will receive from the Welsh government, how much it will cost to pay people and how much all the goods we buy to deliver services will cost us including anticipating inflation rates. What we get from Welsh government each year is never quite enough to do everything we are expected to do, so we make up the shortfall through efficiencies, savings, council tax and charges.
“During the budget process we will engage the public on what I hope will be a small list of savings and mitigations to help bridge the gap.
Executive Member for Resources, Cllr Kelly Preston, added: “We will all have different ideas and suggestions and no idea is a bad idea. Every idea can be the start of a conversation or a challenge to the council to explain the way and why we do things.
“We will have our provisional figures from Welsh Government towards the end of December and we will set out the proposed savings and mitigations line-by-line with a rationale for further scrutiny at the end of January.”
The council is required to complete and approve its budget and set council tax before the 11th of March each year.
View the Agenda for Cross-Cutting Resources and Business Overview & Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 4th November, 2021 here.