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Large pressures are evident as Monmouthshire County Council enters the budget setting process for 2023/24. Just like all other businesses and households, we are having to dealing with many factors. High inflation, energy and fuel costs, and increased demand on social care all play a major part, as does the need to keep pace with inflation through pay awards for our staff. The scale of the pressures experienced by the council are unprecedented. We are already needing to arrest pressures of £8.8million in the current year and as recently reported through Cabinet. As a result of an update of our budget modelling and assumptions we now anticipate an unprecedented shortfall of £23million in 2023/24. In offering perspective this shortfall sits against a net cost of services of £168million.

We are not alone in recognising this unprecedented shortfall. Councils across Wales are announcing similar positions. If high-cost pressures and inflation are not matched by increases in public spending, the ensuing funding gap will be large and the consequences for public services severe.

Leader of the Council Mary Ann Brocklesby said: “We are acutely aware of the devasting impact of the cost-of-living crisis on people living and working Monmouthshire, including our own staff.

Our aim will always be to protect the most vulnerable residents in Monmouthshire, adults and children alike, despite the unprecedented challenges we now face. We will work in partnership with all councillors, residents, town councils and others to find ways to alleviate the worst of the impact.”

Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr. Rachel Garrick added  “We need to make incredibly difficult decisions on how we continue to provide services. Without additional funding from Welsh Government, we must consider how we will find £23million of savings. To address the scale in the shortfall, it will be necessary to consider increases to revenue and reductions in cost and services. We need to work together with all councillors and in consultation with our residents to settle on the most palatable options for our county. There are no easy solutions to the current unprecedented situation in public spending; councils up and down Wales are facing hard decisions on service cuts.” 

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