South Tyneside Council came in £400,000 under budget for 2019/2020 - but financial pressures are expected to bite

South Tyneside Council’s spending came in around £400,000 under budget for the 2019/20 financial year.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 2:27 pm
Councillor Ed Malcolm

Over the period, the council faced financial pressures relating to social care, area management, commissioning and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year also saw the delivery of £11.9million of savings in addition to the millions of pounds of cuts made since 2010.

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“The council continues to face significant financial pressures due to reduced government funding, demands on services as well as the effects of Covid-19,” cabinet member for innovation and resources, Cllr Ed Malcolm, said.

“Despite this, we have been able to achieve a small underspend against budget and increase our reserves to reflect the risks faced by the council.

“Reserves have increased due to the receipt of various government funding streams in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to be used during 2020/21 as necessary.

“I must remind cabinet that a large proportion of our reserves are committed for costs which we will incur in future years leaving modest sums to cover unanticipated costs.”

Cllr Malcolm was speaking at a cabinet meeting, which was held remotely and broadcast live on YouTube.

According to the cabinet report, additional grant income from the Government, extra rental income and lower property running costs helped the council reduce cost pressures in 2019/20.

Provisional figures for the year list the underspend in the revenue budget as £386,000.

Year-end budget pressures include £2.048million in children and families social care, £1.720million in area management, £1.7million in adult social care and £1.253million in commissioning and quality assurance.

The capital investment programme also saw an overspend of around £771,000 with budgets re-profiled in the 2020/21 monitoring process.

Meanwhile, the housing revenue account had a £1.662million overspend against budget, creating a £46,000 deficit on the account.

The 2019/20 outturn position is subject to review and external audit before being signed off.

Cllr Ed Malcolm said: “As stated in the report this is not a normal year and therefore there is a greater likelihood of changes to these figures compared to previous years.”

The council chief also confirmed that there were no plans to reconfigure spending plans in an ’emergency budget’ going forward.

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