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Bradford Council spending forecast £3m under budget
The latest Bradford Council figures show a forecast underspend of £3 million at the mid-way point in the financial year, which is an improved position on the first quarter predictions of just £800,000 under.
This is in contrast to the position at the authority 12 months ago where an overspend of £7.5m by the end of the last financial year was predicted.
Over the past two financial years the Council has had to make cuts of more than £72m out of its operating budget. This year alone that figure equates to savings of £28.5m, leaving a revenue budget of £421.8m.
Stuart McKinnon-Evans, the director of finance, reports that: “Whilst good progress has been made against the majority of the individual saving proposals, the major areas of concern are around the delivery of the £2.5m changes to employees terms and conditions savings, and certain proposals within adult and community services.”
But he added: “Where there has been slippage in the implementation of saving proposals, strategic directors have sought to bring forward other actions to compensate. In a full year it is expected that £28.2m of the £28.5m 2012-13 savings will be delivered.”
Cash reserves are £141.1m with £23m unallocated and available to support any future budget decisions.
A report into the mid-year financial position says the £2.2m movement on the underspend is mainly the result of: a projected £0.4m saving on the implementation of single status/equal pay legislation; £0.2m from a reduction in payment of allowances to staff who have left through voluntary redundancy; a £0.5m saving due to delays in recruiting to the new commissioning and procurement team and workforce development team; and £0.7m of improved forecast savings for waste collection and disposal, and staff savings within environmental health and fleet, and also the neighbourhoods service.
The finance, children’s services, business support departments and the chief executive’s office are all expected to underspend, while environment and sport is predicted to break even.
However, three departments – regeneration and culture, adult and community services, and the city solicitor’s office – are all forecasting an overspend. In regeneration and culture, this amounts to £1.1m, which has been blamed on the impact of market forces on the school catering service, including the loss of academy school contracts, utilities bills being outside budgeted levels which is being investigated by the energy unit, and a reduction in income from building control and planning fees as a result of lower demand.
The report will be discussed on Tuesday at City Hall at 10.30am.