Cyflwynwyd gan:Cyng / Cllr Ioan Thomas
Subject to the condition noted in Paragraph 15 of the report, in order to be in a position to cope with the financial situation in 2020/21, that the Cabinet adopts Option 3, and requests each department to find their share of the £2m needed to address the minimum resource deficit the Council is likely to face due to inflation, and to ask the Scrutiny Committees to scrutinise these proposals in the autumn.
Whilst reporting, departments should also report on how they intend to cope with any lack of funding needed to address any deficits in their savings plans.
Submitted by Dilwyn Williams
Subject to the condition noted in Clause 15 of the report, in order to be in a position to cope with the financial situation in 2020/21, the Cabinet would adopt Option 3, and request for each department to find their share of the £2m needed to address the minimum resource deficit the Council was likely to face due to inflation, and to ask the Scrutiny Committees to scrutinise these proposals in the autumn.
Whilst reporting, departments should also report on how they intended to cope with any deficits that needed to be addressed in their savings plans.
The report was presented and it was noted, should the worst implications noted in the report come true, that the Council would be faced with a difficult situation. It was expressed that the first appendix noted the historical picture, and it was noted that the grant and the tax increase had not been sufficient to pay for the inflation. It was added that the Council had saved £65million over the past 12 years, and that much of this had been achieved through efficiency savings. It was expressed that identifying efficiency savings was becoming increasingly difficult for the departments.
It was noted that in order to plan for the year ahead, a fan chart was to be seen in Appendix 2. It was expressed that it was simple to go for the centre line in terms of savings, but it was added that there was a 50% chance that the figure would be higher. It was added that, should the £2.2m of savings planned since the previous year along with the increase of 3.5% in Council Tax be taken into consideration, the financial shortfall could be between £1.7m and £7.3m. It was expressed that over the previous years the Council had planned for the worst, but it was added that the savings arrangements for the previous year had highlighted that cuts were already a necessity, which would be difficult for a number of services. Any further cuts would be highly challenging and likely to cause alarm to people, be they residents or staff.
Three options for moving forward were highlighted, and it was expressed that the Cabinet Member for Finance and the Chief Executive recommended the third of these options. This option planned to address the shortfall of £1.7m - to be rounded up to £2m - in the optimistic scenario by sharing this sum between all departments (and schools), noting that it was an inflation contribution, and by using balances and/or a higher Council Tax increase to meet the shortfall above the optimistic scenario so as to give time to find a permanent solution.
Observations arising from the discussion
¾ It was expressed that the situation was frightening and alarming, and it was emphasised that year after year, Members had to go through the savings arrangements again. They were unprepared to do so again as it was so disheartening.
¾ It was emphasised that there were obvious differences between the priorities of Welsh Government and the Government in Westminster.
¾ It was noted that a publication had stated that a higher pay rise would be awarded to Teachers, which was higher than the predictions of a 2% rise. It was added that the period of protection for Education, Children and Adults had now passed, and that it would now be difficult to find savings without affecting those services.
¾ Council officers were thanked for their work in foreseeing the likely situation, despite the difficulty of the task. It was expressed that the Governments' priorities focussed on Brexit and wars, emphasising that these were not the priorities of the residents of Gwynedd. It was added that the report set out the rationale for forward planning due to the lack of basic information available.