Powys County Council's budget overspend is in 'grave danger of running out of control', according to the leader of the council's opposition group.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Cllr James Gibson-Watt has warned that the council’s needs to take 'immediate corrective action' to resolve the issue.

The warning comes as the council’s Cabinet is due to consider its monthly budget monitoring report later today, which shows that as at the end of August the council is facing a projected overspend at the end of the 2018/19 financial year of nearly £8 million if planned savings are not made, and one of nearly £6 million even if the savings are achieved.

"This position is placing the council and all its services at risk. Nobody doubts that Powys, like all local authorities in Wales, is feeling the effects of sharp reductions in funding by the UK’s Conservative Government, which has had a devastating effect on local authorities in England and has fed through in to reduced funding available for local authorities in Wales," said Cllr Gibson-Watt, member for Glasbury.

"But it is still very unclear how, for example, Powys’s Children’s Services budget, which was increased from about £12 million to about £18.5 million between 2017/18 and 2018/19, is still projected to be overspent by a further £5.5 million this year. It is absolutely essential that the council establishes a safe and effective service to protect and support vulnerable children and young people in Powys. But the service’s budget must be more carefully managed as spending at current levels is completely unsustainable without further severe cutbacks to other vital services, which of course will also harm those vulnerable children.”

"The Highways, Waste & Recycling budget is also projected to overspend this year, by over £2 million, due to increased fuel and transport costs. This is surely in part due to the devaluation of sterling following the Brexit referendum and just shows how Brexit is already damaging the council and its services.”

"The Cabinet must regain control of the council’s budget. Relying on fast-dwindling reserves to bail it out simply will not do," he added.

At this morning's meeting the council's cabinet will hear a budget monitoring report from Cllr Aled Davies, Portfolio Holder for Finance, which sets out the council's financial position.

The report will say that the council is predicted to be overspent by £7.917m, but the figure does not include predicted 'efficiency savings', after which the deficit comes down to £5.804m.

"Based on the projections included in this report the overspend position would be financed from the General Fund Reserve. With the assurance around the delivery of savings the impact on the general fund would be £5.804m, reducing the balance to £3.886m," said Cllr Davies in his report.