CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board is expected to agree a boost to next year’s education budget.

Despite facing the prospect of making £27million efficiency savings over the next three years, and with reduced funding from the Welsh Government, an additional £2.6million could be allocated to schools in the next financial year to lift the education budget from a cash neutral position.

The money will come from additional council funding and new grants.

Members have reviewed the strategy they approved in November following feedback from the budget consultation, and were expected to agree the proposal on February 4.

The final decision on the council’s budget for 2019-20 though lies with all 74 members of the Full Council, which will meet on February 20 to discuss the Executive Board’s recommendations.

Executive Board Member for Education, Cllr Glynog Davies, said the revised budget would be good news for schools.

“We have always tried our best to protect education from budget cuts, and that has become more and more difficult,” he said.

“In November we agreed a cash neutral budget for schools, which at the time was the best we could do given we were facing a 0.5% cut in Welsh Government funding.

“However, as Executive Board Members, we feel strongly that we need to prioritise our support for schools, reflecting the representations that have been made to us by head teachers and members of the public via the recent budget consultation.

“That is why, on February 4, we will propose to support schools with a £2.6m uplift in their budgets which equates to an additional 2.4 per cent increase on the school finances for 2019-20, lifting it from the cash neutral position we have been preparing for.

“I am sure that this critical support for schools will be welcomed, and will provide assurance that we have listened to their concerns.”