Calderdale Council savings warning amidst £6.6m overspend forecast

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Calderdale Council is predicted to overspend its revenue budget for 2023-24 by £6.6m and there are warnings more savings might be needed to address the situation.

Half-way through the year, that is an increase of around a million pounds over the £5.5m overspend predicted by Calderdale Council officers at the quarter-way stage.

And the council may need to save £11m in the next financial year according to forecasts.

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The revenue budget covers day-to-day council service running costs, from providing care places to emptying the bins.

The council is forecast to overspend than more than earlier this yearThe council is forecast to overspend than more than earlier this year
The council is forecast to overspend than more than earlier this year

Senior councillors will consider finances when the council’s Cabinet meets on Monday, September 13.

Councillors are told work is being done to address overspends.

Some elements – including care packages – are among services local authorities legally have to provide.

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In terms of the revenue budget, worst-case scenario will necessitate using of the council’s reserves, which once used are hard to replace.

The full picture is not clear as Government has yet to announce its Local Government Financial Settlement for the next financial year and is not expected to until just before Christmas, officers say.

“Therefore, in order to protect and limit the use of reserves, further cost controls may be required to be implemented,” says councillors’ briefing papers.

Major service overspends include Children’s and Young People’s Services – forecasting an overspend of £7.8 million.

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A “significant” overspend predicted is around £1.6 million over budget on supported accommodation for 16 and 17-year-olds, partly due to increasing numbers and also increasing costs of the housing itself.

Other impacts on the budget include reduced income from sport and leisure and still-high energy costs.

However, central cost savings are producing around £8.3 million to help mitigate the situation and last month West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin announced West Yorkshire Combined Authority was refunding some money to councils to mitigate financial situations, with around £4.5 million coming back to Calderdale.

Cabinet will also be asked to agree its £206.4 million capital programme – here £163 million of that will be funded from grants and £156,000 of the council’s own money, but it is also prudentially borrowing £37.5 million as another of its own contributions to schemes.

Savings achieved by specific capital schemes will be achieved to offset the prudential borrowing – where councils can borrow at more favourable rates, usually from Government – costs.