More warnings of serious budget pressures in coming years have been given to Pembrokeshire County Councillors.

Councillors are expected to attend a budget seminar on Tuesday, October 18 where cabinet member for corporate finance Cllr Alec Cormack said a three hour session will make clear the “difficult decisions” facing the authority in 2023/24.

At corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee earlier that day members discussed a report about ‘financial resilience’ as a strategic business risk, following referral from this summer’s governance and audit committee meeting.

The risk score currently stands at 16, the highest red rating, due to a number of reasons, director of resources Jon Haswell told members.

These include unprecedented levels of inflationary increase, both workforce and non-workforce, increasing capital project costs and cost of borrow, increasing levels of arrears, increase in demand on services, reduced levels of Welsh Government funding and council income, new legislative requirements and the ongoing economic impact post Brexit, covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.

“In the current financial year, the Council plans to bridge a funding gap of £13.3m from a combination of £7.4m in budget savings, £3.3m in additional income from a Council Tax increase and a £2.6m contribution from the Covid-19 reserve (now renamed Hardship Fund reserve),” a report to committee states.

A current overspend of £1.5million was referenced with “some real challenges ahead,” said Mr Haswell.

Cllr Cormack added that it was easy to think that because council finances are more complex than household there are “more creative and claver things we can do” but he warned that the council could do only as everyone had to in the economic climate – “cutting our spending.”

A moratorium on non-essential spending has been invoked and a review of capital projects is being carried out, with options including “mothballing” projects, although the committee heard this was unlikely to impact those already under way.