West Northants Council revenue monitoring shows balanced position
|Author: Craig Forsyth||Published: 15th September 2021 11:46|
The first budget monitoring report, heard by West Northamptonshire Council’s Executive today, shows a balanced position for the current financial year 2021/22.
The annual budget covers spending across all council services including care to vulnerable adults and children, education, the collection and disposal of waste, household waste recycling, leisure and community wellbeing, highways, planning, economic development, collection of council tax and business rates, housing benefit, council tax support, housing and support for the homeless.
The 21-22 budget was the very first budget created for this authority with inherent financial risks associated with the demand for services in the first year of a new organisation. This demand has also been subject to the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report forecast a service overspend of £1.6milion but this can be offset by contingencies held within the budget.
The report also shows that the provisional financial outturn position for last year for all of the predecessor authorities show small underspends against the budget in each area and that the level of reserves held have increased when compared to the estimated level of balances set out when the budget was formulated prior to the start of the financial year.
Cllr Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance, said:
“The creation of a new Council does present a number of opportunities, such as the financial benefits of economies of scale both from amalgamating four councils into one and from the consolidation of contracts, assets and the redesign of processes. However, there remains a significant amount of financial risk, such as the nationally recognised budget pressures for local government, not only from the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on costs and income, but also from demand led and other cost pressures which pre-date the pandemic. “
“It is important to note that budgets for the new organisation are complex and still settling and therefore they may be further ‘bumps in the road’ as we go through the rest of this financial year. However, given the huge task of bringing together services and estimating a budget for those services as well as adopting an approach of seeking to ensure financial stability the early signs are encouraging.“
Regular reports will appear before the Executive between now and the end of the financial year in March 2022.