Your Views Sought
Powys County Council is feeling the squeeze!
The continued pressure on public spending means that between £8m and £13m needs to be found during next year so we can set a balanced budget - required by law.
Why are we in this position?
Powys receives its money via three main sources:
- a grant from Welsh Government
- Council Tax
- charging for some services
Over the past decade our grant has decreased and we've had to find savings and increase Council Tax to meet what we call the "budget gap" - the gap between the money we get and what we spend to deliver services.
Please go to https://en.powys.gov.uk/budget to see more information and our short animation. To get back to this page, just press the "<" arrow.
Council Leader, Councillor Rosemarie Harris explains: "We have seen our funding fall by 20% over the past ten years as a result of austerity and changes to national spending priorities. This has come at a time when pressures, particularly within social care, are on the increase."
Delivering services in a rural county like Powys also has a number of challenges. It is the most sparsely populated county in Wales but covers a quarter of the land mass. We have a population of 132,515 people - half of whom live in villages, hamlets or dispersed settlements. Providing key front line services like refuse collection, social care, street cleaning and education across the whole county is logistically difficult which inevitably means higher costs.
In the current climate, we are working hard to meet the challenge of less and less money. We are being forced to rethink how best to deliver the 500+ services we currently deliver to you as residents. We are looking to reshape many and deliver them in different and innovative ways so as to limit the impact on you as residents. However, difficult choices lie ahead.
We'd like to invite you to consider the proposals listed in this simulator and contribute your views on how you would find between £8m and £13m worth of service reductions.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance, Councillor Aled Davies said: "We are genuinely being squeezed from all directions and have some difficult decisions to make early next year so as to set a balanced budget. This simulator sets out in real terms where we think we can make service changes and what impact this would have on you as a resident. It is by no means an easy exercise but your responses will help us to consider which suggested service changes you as residents are unhappy with and which we can take forward to balance the budget. Thank you."
How does this simulator work?
When you click on the "Create Your Budget" button you will see immediately in the top left hand corner a red box which tells you that your target is to find savings which total £13m.
In the black box to the right you will be able to see the council's total spend per year which is £255m and see that if you choose to do nothing the council would be overspent by 5.4% and thus unable to set a balanced budget - a legal requirement.
Eight Services and the Council Tax
On the left hand side there is a list of eight core council services and a council tax heading. When you click on one of these headings you will see an 'i' button to the left of the service title which gives an explanation of the service, the current net budget and some facts.
When you move the slider you will be able to see what the consequences are of reducing or increasing the spend for a particular service. All sliders start at the current net budget for that service - shown as a "0%" on the slider.
Submitting your budget
When you have gone through each service area, considered the consequences for each service reduction and selected your preferred choices, you will be able to see in the top left hand corner by how much you have balanced the budget.
If you have been able and willing to make reductions which reach the £13m target the box on the top left goes green. Otherwise this remains red. Please be aware that you can submit your budget at any given point in time.
We are looking at having to make service reductions of between £8m and £13m next year and the proposals listed have been put forward by our senior service managers as areas where they feel reductions can be made.
Before you submit anything you will be given the chance to see a summary of all your choices and change anything you are unhappy with. Once you submit, you'll be asked to answer a few questions about you which will help us assess how robust a response we have received overall.
Some obvious things have been left out because we know you'd expect us to just get on with them. For example reducing staff numbers, being more efficient, using IT systems better and ensuring that we collect 100% of council tax owed to us.