Underspend on cards for council, but still more savings to find

Northumberland County Council is forecasting an underspend of at least £1.25million this year, in what are testing financial times for local authorities.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 15:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 15:25 pm
Northumberland County Council

But there is no sign of an end to the cuts with another £36million of reductions proposed over the next three years, including £12.8million in 2019-20. The full council will be asked to approve this budget next month.

The county council identified savings of £8.18million and the use of £3.24million from its reserves for this year’s budget, which was approved last February.

A statement of accounts update to the authority’s audit committee this week states that service areas are forecast to underspend by £1.25million and this is anticipated to increase by the close of the financial year, while an extra £1million is to come in from the Government in relation to a business rates surplus.

The council’s overall total reserves and provisions are expected to reduce by £3.14million to £228.97million.

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Among the changes to the reserves figures is a decrease of £1million in the insurance pot as the council is ‘currently dealing with a high volume of claims’ relating to Beast from the East.

The council’s draft accounts must be published by May 31 and final audited accounts published by the end of July.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service