Less than £1m to cover revenue budge overspends in Calderdale revealed

Calderdale Scrutiny board councillors were given an overview of directorate overspends and underspends.
Calderdale Scrutiny board councillors were given an overview of directorate overspends and underspends.

Calderdale Council will have just short of £1 million to help support revenue budget overspends this year, councillors heard.

They money has been carried forward from last year, when Cabinet approved a sum of £2 million to help fund service overspends and the £985,000 left can be used for the same purpose this year, the council’s Head of Finance Nigel Broadbent told the council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board.

Mr Broadbent and his officers were reporting on the out-turn positions for both revenue and capital budgets at the end of the 2018-19 council year, with Ernst and Young having signing off the accounts and the figures being presented to Cabinet back in June.

Scrutiny board councillors were given an overview of directorate overspends and underspends.

Considering the revenue out-turn position, £1.2 million of overspends were met by underspends while the remaining £1.015 million needed came from the approved £2 million.

Other savings which might be needed will have to be found within directorates.

Mr Broadbent reminded councillors that in general the council’s finances relied increasingly on short term solutions rather than longer term, sustainable budgets.

In terms of the council’s capital programme, Mr Broadbent reported the council had spent £45.3 million in 2018/19, £6.2 million less than forecasted earlier in the year – this was mainly due to the difficulties in forecasting accurately the spending pattern on some larger, more complex projects such as major school schemes, street lighting, the Northgate House redevelopment project in Halifax and school return information not being received until after the year end.

In all these cases the un-used resources would be carried forward into this year.

It was explained this did not necessarily reflect the full cost of the schemes as the out-turn position showed only the cost incurred in that particular year.

The vast majority of capital schemes within the programme were being delivered to budget and within time and the appended report highlighted the few exceptions where there were delays or cost implications, councillors heard.

Of the £45.3 million about three quarters had been funded from Government Grant which had no impact on Council Tax payers with the majority of the remaining quarter being funded through prudential borrowing.