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Council could need to dip in to reserves to pay off budget overspend

16 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Bridgend County Borough Council’s Civic Offices. Photo Bridgend County Borough Council.

Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter

Bridgend County Borough Council may need to use earmarked or general reserves in the coming months to pay off an in-year overspend.

A report which was given to members at a governance and audit committee meeting highlighted there was currently expected to be a £10.9m overspend in the council’s budget for the 2023-24 financial year.

This comes after what was described as “unprecedented” financial pressures which have been faced by councils right across Wales with specific pressures in Bridgend said to be on the social services and wellbeing directorate as well as the home-to-school transport budget.

Governance and audit committee

The report was given to the council’s governance and audit committee as part of talks on its annual “going concern” assessment, which underpins the preparation of the annual statement of accounts.

It read: “It is too early to advise on the out-turn for 2023-24 but based on in-year monitoring reports it is expected that the council will show an overspend in the current year.

“It is anticipated that there will be draw down from earmarked and /or general reserves and the closing balance of earmarked reserves is currently estimated to be around £75m, though this may be reduced dependent on the final revenue out-turn position.”

It added that the council’s budget will likely need to be monitored more closely moving forward as the ability to take funds from earmarked reserves and the council fund will be “extremely limited.”

Speaking at the meeting councillor Norah Clarke of Nottage asked officers if money was to be taken from earmarked reserves what would happen in areas the money was earmarked for.

Others questioned if there was anything that could be done in the future to enhance governance framework to prevent future overspending and ensure more accurate budget forecasts.

Officers responded by saying that they were always looking to improve and strengthen, adding that when it came to the expected overspend the authority would have to re-prioritise, balancing if settling the council’s budget for the previous year was more important than the original reason the reserves were set up.

Report

They also added that officers were currently finalising a report which will now be presented to members at both cabinet and full council before the summer recess.

may need to use its reserves in the coming months in order to pay off an in-year overspend.

A report which was given to members at a governance and audit committee meeting highlighted how there was currently expected to be a £10.9m overspend in the council’s budget for the 2023-24 financial year.

This comes after what was described as “unprecedented” financial pressures which have been faced by councils right across Wales with specific pressures in Bridgend said to be on the social services and wellbeing directorate as well as the home-to-school transport budget.

The report was given to the council’s governance and audit committee as part of talks on its annual “going concern” assessment, which underpins the preparation of the annual statement of accounts.

It read: “It is too early to advise on the out-turn for 2023-24 but based on in-year monitoring reports it is expected that the council will show an overspend in the current year.

“It is anticipated that there will be draw down from earmarked and /or general reserves and the closing balance of earmarked reserves is currently estimated to be around £75m, though this may be reduced dependent on the final revenue out-turn position.”

It added that the council’s budget will likely need to be monitored more closely moving forward as the ability to take funds from earmarked reserves and the council fund will be “extremely limited.”

Reserves

Speaking at the meeting councillor Norah Clarke of Nottage asked officers if money was to be taken from earmarked reserves what would happen in areas the money was earmarked for.

Others questioned if there was anything that could be done in the future to enhance governance framework to prevent future overspending and ensure more accurate budget forecasts.

Officers responded by saying that they were always looking to improve and strengthen, adding that when it came to the expected overspend the authority would have to re-prioritise, balancing if settling the council’s budget for the previous year was more important than the original reason the reserves were set up.

They also added that officers were currently finalising a report which will now be presented to members at both cabinet and full council before the summer recess.


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Frank
Frank
28 days ago

Google “Bridgend County Borough – Working in the Council”. Makes an interesting read on working conditions within the organisation. Makes the place I worked in all my life sound like a prison camp. I was obviously in the wrong job and should have worked for BCB instead. I wonder why they have a debt?

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