Increased funding for Powys schools and roads to be discussed by Cabinet


15th January 2020

MoneyA balanced budget that will propose increased funding for key statutory services including education, children and highways will be considered by Powys County Council's Cabinet next week.

The Cabinet will be asked to approve spending plans of nearly £270 million for 2020-2021 financed by a combination of funding from the Welsh Government and Council tax.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Aled Davies said: "The additional funding provided by Boris Johnson's government has enabled the Welsh Government to increase its support to Local Authorities across Wales. 

"For the first time in many years we have received a cash increase in our settlement, which is much needed.  A decade of austerity has taken its toll on Council's services and our financial position and while the increase in funding is welcome on its own it is not enough to meet all of the cost pressures being faced by the Council in the year ahead. 

"The draft budget we will be considering next week proposes significant funding increases to meet cost pressures in Education and Children's Services with an additional £6 million for schools, which will be needed to fund the government's decision to support teacher's pay and pension costs boosting the education budget to almost a £100 million per annum.  An additional £6 million will also be considered for Children's Services to meet the ongoing costs of supporting our most vulnerable children.

"The draft budget also proposes an additional £0.5 million a year for roads' maintenance, an area highlighted for concern during the public budget consultation in the Autumn.  This revenue funding along with £15 million of capital investment in highways over the next five years will help us to improve the condition of Powys roads.

"To help fund these increases in spending on our front-line services we are proposing around £11 million of cost reductions across the Council, which will be delivered in the main by transforming services and driving further efficiencies. 

"We are also proposing to increase Council Tax by five per cent next year to balance our budget, much lower than last year and in line with the feedback received during the public budget consultation.  This increase will enable the Council to set a sustainable budget and protect front line services from further budget reductions.

"Cabinet will also be considering a draft capital programme for the next ten years.  This would see a total of £532 million being invested in key infrastructure projects recognising that we need appropriate buildings and facilities to deliver services now and into the future. The investment will not only support infrastructure but provide a significant boost to the county's economy."

The draft budget will be considered by the cabinet on Tuesday (January 21) and if approved will go to full council for decision in February.

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