South Tyneside Council reports almost £2million budget underspend

South Tyneside Council underspent on its running costs by almost £2million last year, according to new figures.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th July 2019, 16:08 pm
South Shields Town Hall

In 2018/19 the authority spent £1.850million less than its net revenue budget – despite overspending by £2.738million on Children, Adults and Health services over the period.

Savings in other areas included £2.417million in Business and Resources and £2.171 million in Economic Regeneration.

Councillor Ed Malcolm

The provisional figures are part of the authority’s ‘Outturn Position Statement’ and are subject to an external audit, but council bosses have said major changes are unlikely.

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A report, presented to cabinet on July 10, said the underspend will be used to deal with potential funding cuts in future.

”The success of our financial planning and management during the year has resulted in a £1.8million underspend despite significant cost pressures and a continuation of the reductions in Government funding and on-going cost pressures,” it read.

“This means that we are able to increase reserves to assist in dealing with the future anticipated reductions in government funding.”

Coun Ed Malcolm, Lead member for Resources and Innovation on the council, told cabinet the move would strengthen the council going forward.

Speaking at the meeting at South Shields Town Hall, he said: “The council continues to face considerable financial pressures due to reductions in government funding and demand on services.

“Despite this, we have been able to use underspend against budget and increase our reserves.

“This will strengthen our ongoing sustainability in the face of significant future financial risk.”

He added that reserves could be used in future to deal with “unanticipated costs.”

According to the cabinet report, pressures still exist around Children and Families Social Care.

As of April, this includes £3.088million linked to out of borough placements and independent foster placements.

Pressures of nearly £2million are linked to Area Management around vehicle and plant hire and waste collection/disposal.

While a further £655,000 pressure has been identified for public health.

The council also spent £1.888million more than its budgeted £99.386 million capital programme.

Coun Malcolm said this was largely due to spending on refurbishment of community facilities, and the overspend will be “managed by planned re-profiling of the existing programme.”