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'Bradford Council spending £3.7m less than budgeted for'
Bradford Council will have spent £3.7 million less than it budgeted at the end of this financial year, its latest forecast suggests.
Predicted underspendings in the overall budget of £454.4 million budget, include £2.2 million in the regeneration and culture department and £1.9 million in children’s services.
The figures have been revealed as the Council released its third quarter financial statement for 2013-14 – during which it had to make £28.5 million of savings compared to the previous 112 months.
But, despite the underspendings, the report shows the authority still faces huge financial pressures, as income from leisure centres, school dinners and theatres declines.
The corporate overview and scrutiny committee will be told on Thursday that the underspendings include £600,000 of wages that were not paid due to vacancies in the children’s service “access and Inclusion” service and an £200,000 from the youth offending team staff.
A vacancy in the role of assistant director for waste services has saved the taxpayer £100,000 in 2013-14.
The Council also saw an unexpected boost in the amount of Council Tax it generated – £2.8 million more than it predicted at the start of the financial year.
The report says this is down to a number of people having to pay Council Tax for the first time has increased, partly because of the Government replacing Council Tax Benefit with Council Tax Reduction. Although the report shows the Council has more money to use in the coming year, it adds: “There is a high risk that a number of services pressures are recurring.
“These either need to be managed out, or compensated for in the future.”
These pressures include an increase of almost £3m in what the Council has to pay for adult home support because of a rising number of users and £1.9m in extra costs due to the increase in adults entering residential homes.
There is a £600,000 shortfall in income from school catering and £200,000 reduction in income from sports facilities.
The committee will also hear ways the Council aims to increase income in under pressure areas in the next few years. Sports centres face a hit, with Nab Wood Sports Centre suffering from “local competition with better facilities” and income at both Keighley and Manningham Leisure Centres falling in the past year.
The Council proposes to “review the sports sessions offered to re-align that to the customer demand” as well as increase income from gym and football facility hire.
Income from the district’s theatres is also down, and the Council blames a reduction in demand and “customers being more selective.”
The committee meets at City Hall from 5pm on Thursday.