Impact of storms and Covid 19 could result in council overspend of £10m says report

By Julie McNicholls Vale   |   Deputy news editor   |
Friday 10th July 2020 10:50 am
@JulieCambrian
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Monmouthshire council could finish the 2020/21 financial year with an overspend of nearly £10.5 million, a council report has revealed.

A full council report on the financial implications of coronavirus has revealed that the county council could be looking at an overspend of between £3 million and £10.4 million.

However, a report will be presented at the end of the month with further details on the current projected forecast for 2020/21.

The council says that it has been impacted “signficantly” by storms Ciara and Dennis and the coronavirus pandemic.

The report says: “Services and existing capacity has been redirected and redeployed to ensure that the Council met its core purpose of protecting life. This has seen additional unbudgeted costs being incurred.

“Many income generating services have had to stop in order to comply with UK and Welsh Government guidance. The income loss and shortfall is significant and ongoing.”

The council report also says that there is a delay in the implementation of some budget saving proposals for the financial year because of the redeployment of resources.

The council also has concerns over the uncertainty of the finances.

“Announcements by both Welsh Government and UK Government have been made and have confirmed levels of commitment to support local authorities,” the report says.

“There is a lack of clarity as to when Welsh local authorities will have certainty around the level of funding to be received.

“Council is unlikely to have all of its costs and pressure met by Welsh Government. The question therefore become one of how significant is the shortfall that needs to be managed in year and will Welsh local authorities obtain any flexibilities to spread the burden over more than one financial year.”

Despite significant concerns over the council’s finances, the council is not in a position where it would need to issue a S114 notice.

Every council has a statutory duty to balance its budget and if they fail to do so they would need to issue a S114 notice.

The report says: “Officers have every intent to develop a budget recovery plan and subsequent budget savings proposals to deliver against that strategic aim.

“However, Welsh Government plays a pivotal role in this in ensuring that the financial challenge faced by the Council is surmountable rather than insurmountable.

“Recourse to application of a S114 notice should be and will be seen very much as a last resort and is not considered necessary at this time.”

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