UNCERTAINTY over reforms to local government funding and the ongoing impact of austerity have left Wigan finance chiefs relying on “assumptions and estimation”, according to a report. Lead officers have warned the town hall may have to slash a further £26m from its post-2019 budgets but that figure “will no doubt change”.
A report on savings forecasts tabled for a meeting of the council’s executive says an unprecedented set of circumstances – including the aftermath of Brexit – are making financial predictions “extremely difficult”. Produced by finance chiefs Paul McKevitt and Tony Clarke, the report states the council’s current medium term financial plan (MTFP) “has proved to be the most difficult to formulate for many years”.
And although the forecast is set to be updated later this year when central government provides further details of long-awaited funding reforms, a number of risks remain that may lead to a re-think.
Cabinet members will be told savings of £10.2m identified for 2019/20 have “plans already in place for their delivery” but figures for 2020/21 and 2021/22 (£9.8m and £5.8m respectively) are indicative.