THE archive service that covers all of Gwent has said it requires an extra £76,000 next year but it is unclear if councils will agree to the increase.

The service is based in Ebbw Vale and holds historical documents ranging from parish records to council reports and family photographs to tell the history of the five council areas that make up the former county of Gwent.

It has an annual budget of just over £1 million and is funded by contributions from Newport City Council, Monmouthshire County Council and the borough councils of Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.

Its funding is agreed using a formula that determines how much each authority should contribute, based on population, and that had meant Newport and Monmouthshire were set to see their contributions to the 2023/24 budget slightly increase while the others would pay less.

The service, which said it had its first rise in funding in seven years during last year’s budget round, had proposed a £76,149 increase in funding for the upcoming year.

That would have seen Newport council, which has already warned it could have to increase council tax by as much as 9.5 per cent, pay an extra £38,690 on top of its £311,735 contribution to the service last year, with £15,236 of that increase due to the revised funding formula.

Monmouthshire, which has a £9.15 million shortfall in its current budget and has warned of cuts next year, could have to find £16,949 on top of last year’s contribution of £196,353 with £2,177 of that due the changes to the formula.

But though councillors and ‘co-opted’ members of the public who sit on the archives committee normally agree a budget and notify councils of their contributions by the end of December its most recent meeting deferred a decision on the increase.

The committee has been asked to consider if it wanted to hold off introducing the revised funding formula for a further year it instead decided that members should go back to their councils and discuss the implications of agreeing to the rise.

The decision on whether the service’s budget should increase will now be made at a meeting in January.

The report, which recommended the increased contributions, said it had done so in recognition of the financial pressures facing local authorities and rising costs it faces due to soaring inflation.

It has already used savings, due to a rates freeze and having reduced the amount of office space it rents in Ebbw Vale, to offset costs including an unexpected £20,000 bill for essential repair work to the chiller cabinet and pressure vents used to keep historic documents in good condition.

The budget has also earmarked £48,077 to cover heating and electricity price increases, business rates which are set to be revaluated, and service charges.

In the current year the services is expecting to generate some £34,000 in income which is way above its £12,000 target, largely due to the extended hire of its education room which is expected to continue to the end of March 2023 and generate £16,200.

Another source of income is from royalty payments received from ancestry companies for digitised records but the service says it has made no assumptions on how much either room hire or royalties will generate next year.

It says: “Potential new royalties that may arise from digitising further records such as school registers are still being explored.”