Council on course for balanced budget despite pressures, extra investments
Telford & Wrekin is set to complete the year with a balanced budget while putting extra new funding to support three key areas.
A report to the Council’s cabinet shows that Telford & Wrekin is facing continuing budget pressures in two of its biggest spending areas, adult social care and caring for looked after children.
Overall however, there remains long term uncertainty around its budget as the Government has still to confirm future funding arrangements for councils from April next year. Using the best information currently available though, Telford & Wrekin is expecting to have to make a further £25 million of savings from its budget to 2022. This will be on top of the £123 million that it has saved from its budget in the last 10 years.
Through active financial management, the Council is expected to end the year with a contingency fund of £3.6 million to help meet any unforeseen issues or emergencies in the remainder of the year with any balance remaining being used to help support investment in key community priorities or to help support the budget in future years.
This is after the Council will put almost an extra £1 million to help meet extra budget pressures in adult social care and for looked after children.
Pressures in these two areas have been significantly lessened thanks to the success of the Council’s treasury management work which is performing £2m ahead of target.
The Council’s key Pride in Our Community initiative will also be boosted by an extra £400,000 to help tackle a range of smaller environmental schemes outside of existing contracts or capital schemes.
This will bring the total Pride in Our Community investment in the borough improving the environment, roads and footpaths to more than £50 million from 2018 to 2022.
Cabinet member responsible for finance Lee Carter said: “While many councils are struggling to balance their budgets, we are yet again on track to complete the year in budget, even after allowing some extra relief to those areas most under pressure – looked after children and adult social care.
“Looking after the most vulnerable in the community is one our key priorities so it’s only right we do this.
“Equally creating a better borough is one our most important goals so it’s equally right that we allocate some extra funding for our Pride in Our Community initiative to help further improve the borough’s environment.
“Despite this prudent approach, the future still looks extremely challenging with £25 million more savings to find by 2022 and still no clarity from Government on how local government’s funding will work, which make it extremely difficult to plan for the longer term for the borough.”