Cambrian News photographer - Bodlondeb closure helps put £500,000 in council coffers

CEREDIGION County Council managed to put £500,000 into its reserves in 2017/18 despite dire warnings about its financial situation.

Cambrian News reported “While the council made around £4m of savings, final figures for the 2017/18 budget showed that the council’s reserves were boosted by £500,000 to £5.5m.

Council leader Ellen ap Gwynn praised departments and hailed the council’s transformation programme which she said had seen the authority make a range of savings.

One of the areas Cllr ap Gwynn said had helped the authority save money was the controversial closure of the Bodlondeb care home in January.

Cllr ap Gwynn said that closing the home had led to the council not having to pay for beds that were not occupied.

But while the financial situation was rosier than expected, the council has admitted that it lost money on the controversial council tax premium scheme that saw increased council tax imposed on holiday homes.

The account was in deficit by £60,000 in 2017/18 following a deficit of £268,000 in 2016/17.

A report by finance department officer Justin Davies said: “The last report was for the period to December 2017 and this forecast a small underspend but with an expected improvement in the final quarter.

“The council was successful in obtaining one-off extra funding in March for social services, winter maintenance and schools together with other one-off service savings/income.

“This has contributed to the improved financial position which shows an overall surplus of £513,000.

“General balances have increased from £5m to £5.5m which is 3.9 per cent of the annual budget when compared to the target range of between three and five per cent” here.

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