CUTS of £493,000 are predicted as part of the upcoming Ceredigion County Council budget for schools and culture service.

Members of the learning communities overview and scrutiny is due to examine the proposals for the service and its £49,841,000 budget for 2021/22 at its meeting on February 18.

A report to the meeting states that schools’ budgets have had an “extremely challenging decade” with staffing reduced at all levels, as has the department’s central staffing.

“The savings options below are therefore proposed on the basis that the service centrally will make savings of £282,931 (57%) and the budgets delegated to schools will make savings of £210,069 (43%),” it adds.

Savings proposed include £30,000 from WJEC, £45,000 from ERW, £55,000 from additional learning needs transport, £71,931 by closing office canteens and £66,000 staffing costs.

Cost pressures of £1.308million require funding including pay awards, catering food inflation, resource pressures and loss of income from increase in free school meals and inter-authority recoupment.

No increases to council charges are proposed in areas such as the music service, school meals or Theatr Felinfach, along with others under the remit of the scrutiny committee.

A report adds that fees and charges not set by the council are not included yet but will be taken into account when updated by statutory bodies or the Welsh Government.