Council warns of serious budget challenges.
The Council is warning that challenging times lie ahead as it faces a series of continuing budget pressures due to rising costs and demand for services.
It is estimated that delivering day to day services – including social services, waste collection and schools, will cost an extra £26m due to price increases, inflation, and pressure on demand.
Despite an expected increase in funding of £5.6m (3%) by Welsh Government, this still leaves a funding gap of £20.4m. Like Local Authorities across Wales, the Council must find additional money through savings and efficiencies, charges for services, increases in Council Tax or by reducing or cutting services.
Councillor Jason McLellan, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Lead Member for Economic Growth and Tackling Deprivation said, “Like all Councils across Wales and England we face the most challenging of times. Over a decade of constant austerity cuts from UK Government has taken its toll on local authorities and as a result we have to make very difficult decisions.
“We have already been looking at every Council function to identify budget savings. We have asked staff internally to propose ideas; we are considering what we can do differently, what we can reduce and what we can stop. On the basis of these considerations, we are working to come up with a list of potential savings across everything we do. The current financial position is incredibly challenging and as a result, the need for significant budget savings is unprecedented.”
Councillor Gwyneth Ellis, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets said, “The main priority for Cabinet at this point is to ensure the Council can balance the books. Denbighshire wants to avoid arriving at a situation where external Commissioners are sent in by government to reduce spend with little or no reference to the elected Members or the local communities. This is the reality of what could happen should we fail to balance the books.
“That is why we must start making difficult decisions now. We need to be able to agree to implement significant savings over the next few months to enable us to set a balanced budget for 2024/25. We also know there are likely to be similar challenges facing us for 2025/26.”
The proposals which will be put forward will all go through the appropriate process with some decisions made by Cabinet while others will be taken via delegated decision either by the Lead Member or Head of Service. All decisions which have a significant impact on communities will be subject to a public consultation.
You can view information about the current budget situation and proposals which are being considered on the Council’s website.