HALF way through the 2021-2022 financial year, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s finances are said to be in a “good position.”

A financial report on how the council’s budget for 2021/22 stood as of September 30 – the end of the second financial quarter of the year – was discussed by the Executive committee at a meeting on Wednesday, December 15.

The council’s chief accountant, Gina Taylor, explained that the council was forecasting a position of just over £2.8 million under the budget of £157 million by the end of the financial year.

This is up on the first quarter figures, which predicted  the council would be £2.494 million under budget by  March 31, 2022.

Ms Taylor said: “It’s a good position to be in at this time of year.”

She pointed out that the council had received funding “in the region” of £3.5 million from the Welsh Government Hardship Fund for local government.

This fund meets the costs of dealing with the pandemic as well as lost council income and even lost efficiency savings costs.

But the report also shows that some departments are in danger of overspending their budget allocation.

Ms Taylor said: “The most significant being legal fees within social services which is currently reporting £363,000 and waste services, whilst an improving position on quarter one, is reporting and adverse variance of £208,000.”

She added that action plans to turn these positions around had been included in the report documents.

Council leader, Cllr Nigel Daniels pointed out that the Welsh Government will be announcing their financial settlement for Welsh local authorities next week.

Cllr Daniels said: “We are in a particularly good position and fingers crossed again that we hopefully receive a reasonable settlement.”

The committee approved the report.

Last year the council received just over £120.3 million in the financial settlement from the Welsh Government, an increase of 3.6 per cent which equates to £4.2 million more than the 2020/21 budget.

The rest of the £157 million comes from council tax and grant funding.