'Sincere thanks' for council for small funding surplus in Shropshire
Shropshire Council’s financial position has improved in the last quarter, with an underspend of £121,000 forecast on the last financial year.
The council’s cabinet was told by Councillor David Minnery, portfolio holder for finance, that the authority had improved its controllable revenue position by £239,000.
He said: “It’s a good news story. Despite dire warnings, we have a small surplus at the end of the financial year.
“We work as an entire team and it’s thanks to colleagues in cabinet and officers.”
He added: “Sincere thanks are due, we have all worked hard together.”
But Councillor Roger Evans, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: “There was £3 million not saved last year and a spending freeze last autumn saved £7 million.
“That’s £10 million. Is that something to be proud of? I don’t think so.
“We need another £5 million to bolster reserves to where they should be.
“This is nothing to be proud of.”
Councillor Peter Nutting, leader, said: “I am proud of it. We have worked very hard.
“We are doing all we can at local level to keep spending under control and this reflects that.
“We are doing well in a difficult position. It’s not all in our hands, a lot is down to government.
“I think you should be applauding us.”
Council head of finance James Walton said in a report to the cabinet: “The council’s controllable revenue position for 2018/19 has improved by £0.239m when compared to projections made at Quarter 3, resulting in a net controllable underspend of £0.167m, a variance of 0.03 per cent on the gross budget.
“This improvement has been delivered as a result of variances across a number of council services.
“The out-turn on non-controllable insurance is an overspend of £0.046m.
“When deducted from the controllable underspend, the total out-turn adjustment to the general fund is a contribution of £0.121m.
“The out-turn capital expenditure for 2018/19 is £50.975m, representing 76 per cent of the re-profiled budget of £66.703m.
“All £15.728m of this underspend has been carried forward to the 2019/20 programme.”
He added: “Services have worked hard throughout the year to deliver a balanced council position overall, through the implementation of a spending freeze in the early part of the financial year.
“When setting the Council’s budget for 2019/20, £1.842m of growth funding has been applied in order to remove some of the savings above that have been determined to be undeliverable.
“£1.396m of the savings above are therefore still required to be delivered as the delivery of these savings targets were considered to be delayed rather than undeliverable.
“Delivery of these savings will be scrutinised at regular savings challenge meetings scheduled to take place with directors throughout the year.”