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Council budget 2016/17

Published: 15/01/2016

Flintshire County Councils Cabinet will consider the final stages of setting its 2016/17 revenue budget when it meets on Tuesday 19 January. A funding gap still has to be met in what will be a tough year ahead, but it will be a big step forward in balancing the revenue budget for 2016/17 in the most challenging of times for public sector finance. In Flintshire, this has been achieved through a combination of careful business planning, continually reducing the organisations overhead costs, and calculated risk taking on managing cost pressures such as pay and price inflation. The Council recognises that Welsh Government, in setting the Provisional Settlement for Local Government in Wales, has listened to the case made by local government for some relief from the impacts of the UK Governments austerity programme. Flintshire, supported by local communities in its recent This is Your Moment campaign, made no small contribution to national campaigning. Throughout the budget process, the Council has sought to protect front line services, community facilities and funding for Schools. Council Leader Aaron Shotton said: We are pleased to announce that as a result of this work there will be no new threats to council services in 2016/17. The list of services which were presented as being at risk in the community engagement meetings held in November and December, can be protected for another year. As a priority this year the Councils Cabinet is also striving to provide at least a 1% increase in its core funding for local schools. To achieve the balanced budget, a gap of £3m remains which includes new and emerging pressures identified over the winter months since the Medium Term Financial Strategy forecast was first published. Further work will continue to close this gap before a final report is brought back to Cabinet in February. Councillor Shotton added: Work is ongoing to achieve a balanced budget by the 16 February deadline. It will be critical in future years that Welsh Government keeps any reduction in grant to local councils to a minimum. The funding system for local government also needs to be urgently reformed. Flintshire can no longer go on, as a low funded council, receiving £17.5m less per year than the average grant for Welsh councils based on a comparative population size.