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Bradford Council forecasts £5.2m underspend
The latest figures show Bradford Council is forecasting an underspend of £5.2 million at the third quarter point in the financial year with the help of some additional income.
This is a further improved picture after predictions of a surplus of £3m and £800,000 respectively at the mid-way and first quarter points.
Over the past two financial years the Council has had to make cuts of more than £72m out of its operating budget, with £28.5m of those being made in 2012/13.
The third quarter forecast shows the Council continues to reduce its cost base, is ahead of its plan to make savings in the cost of support functions, has benefitted from £1.5m of additional income, is making solid progress in implementing the savings and investment decisions in the budget plans and is maintaining adequate contingency and reserves.
Stuart McKinnon-Evans, the director of finance, reports that: “The unplanned income, together with the in-year savings ahead of plan, are set to result in the Council’s net expenditure being £5.2m lower than the approved 2012-13 budget of £421.8m. This is a movement of £2.2m on the mid-year assessment.
“Of the £2.4m net position in departments, the four customer facing services are forecast to outturn £0.7m over budget, with corporate support and non-service budgets delivering savings £3.1m over and above plan.”
The additional income is made up of a £0.7m dividend from the YPO regional purchasing organisation which Bradford is a member of and £0.8m in one-off funding for winter pressures within adult services.
The Council is also expecting to receive a further £1.7m refund, on top of the £1.3m already reported, to reflect the number of schools that have converted to academies in the last two years.
It is being recommended that this latest refund be earmarked for addressing issues arising from changes in the way central education functions are being funded.
Furthermore, £2.7m of expenditure originally planned for this year, involving two ICT contracts, skills and employment contracts, economic development initiatives and training support for early years, is now expected to be deferred until 2013/14.
The report will be discussed on Thursday at the authority’s corporate overview and scrutiny committee from 5pm at City Hall, Bradford.