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Council £2.78m in the red

22 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Denbighshire County Council Headquarters. Photo Arwel Parry, CC BY-SA3 via Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Evans Local Democracy Reporter

Denbighshire County Council is predicting it will be £2.78m in the red as the financial year closes at the end of this month.

The cabinet discussed the council’s revenue budget for 2023/24 to inform councillors of the authority’s current financial position.

Denbighshire’s net revenue budget for the current financial year was £250.793m, compared to £233.696m in 2022/23.

Overspend

Yet the council is forecasting an overspend of £2.78m, with most of the cost being attributed to ‘pressures’ within adult social care, homelessness, children’s services, and highways and environmental services.

Head of finance Liz Thomas said council managers had put in place measures to cut costs, asking departments to reduce spending, including ceasing appointing people into vacant job posts.

But the £2.78m was reduced from last month’s forecast of a £2.84m overspend, which cabinet member for finance Cllr Gwyneth Ellis said was evidence of council managers realising the authority’s precarious financial position.

“We can interpret this as evidence that the senior leadership team and also managers across the whole council do realise the severity of the financial situation and are doing something about it,” she said.

“I see this as a good indicator that the message is reaching everyone, and everybody is acting with regards to the situation.”

Council tax increase

For 2024/25 Denbighshire has already agreed to increase council tax by 9.34%, despite receiving the highest local government settlement increase in North Wales from the Welsh Government.

The council also made several cuts to services for the next financial year, including 3% cuts to schools.

Whilst no decision needed to be made at the meeting at the council’s Ruthin County Hall HQ, members agreed to note the budget situation, voting in favour of backing the report.


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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
26 days ago

This is awful. I can’t understand why the Welsh Government doesn’t take some of the financial burden off struggling councils (like Sir Ddinbych a Conwy). For example, the Senedd could fund education in these councils directly (a ‘special measures’ approach) until a point in the future that the councils are able to take the responsibilities back. Any thoughts?

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