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Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn - Isle of Anglesey County Council

Future of council services under threat

Posted on 16 January 2024

Plugging a £14m funding gap will mean cuts to council services, an increase in Council Tax and utilising already scarce reserves.

Anglesey Council Leader, Councillor Llinos Medi, has revealed that the authority will be forced to make more cuts, with every service being closely assessed.

With funding from Welsh Government not enough to meet costs faced by the Council, the Executive’s initial proposals to balance the 2024 to 2025 Revenue Budget will include:

  • nearly £5m in service cuts - which will include a £1m reduction in staffing budgets, an increase in fees and not fully funding cost pressures faced by schools
  • using more than £4m from the Council’s General Balances and Earmarked Reserves to help
  • increasing the Council Tax premium for second homes from 75% to 100%
  • raising Council Tax by 9.8% which will see the average Band D bill rise by £156.51 to £1,593

Councillor Medi said, “The scars of more than a decade of austerity are evident across our communities and will be seen for many years to come. As a council, we have cut to the bone, and then cut again.”

“We’ve tried to protect vital services for as long as we can, but the funding we get from Welsh Government just isn’t enough to meet mounting costs we face – including pensions, salaries and energy bills. There is a growing demand for our statutory services, in particular social care for children and adults and, as a council, we must also support social care providers as they face growing costs.”

She added, “We understand that yet another increase in Council Tax and service cuts won’t be welcome. But we have no other options after years of financial cuts.”

A freeze on capital funding is also making it harder for the county council to invest in its buildings and assets; meaning that maintenance costs increase and opportunities to make efficiency savings are lost.

The county council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee will begin examining the Executive’s initial Revenue Budget 2024/25 proposals today (Tuesday16 January) at 10am.

Finance portfolio holder, Councillor Robin Williams added, “Having seen other councils in England practically bankrupt, we will continue our prudent approach to setting the Budget. Last year, we used the council’s reserves to keep Council Tax as low as possible and we’ll be taking this course of action again this year.”

“We can take some crumb of comfort in the fact that Anglesey’s Council Tax would remain the lowest in North Wales, if our proposals are backed by the Full Council.”

He added, “However, we must focus on striking a balance between service cuts, raising Council Tax and using council reserves to balance our proposed Revenue Budget.”

The proposed Revenue Budget for 2024 to 2025 stands at £184.2m. The final budget will be approved by the Full Council on 7 March 2024.

The financial outlook for 2025 to 2026 also remains bleak with Welsh Government funding unlikely to increase significantly, whilst service demand and costs expected rise further. Continuing to use reserves as a funding source would also weaken the council’s overall financial position.

Councillor Williams added, “Next year, sadly, the financial outlook across Wales is likely to be worse. We will see services which are currently taken for granted disappear. The future, from a financial position, really is that bad.”

Ends 16 January 2024

Posted on 16 January 2024