£800k overspend forecast for Northampton Borough Council half way through the financial year

Northampton Borough Council's cabinet met this week at The Guildhall
Northampton Borough Council's cabinet met this week at The Guildhall

An overspend of almost £800,000 is being forecast for the current financial year for Northampton Borough Council.

The latest report on the state of the authority’s finances comes half way through the 2019/20 financial year.

Six months in and the latest forecasts show that the current projected overspend stands at £793,000 for the end of the year. This is largely due to significant overspends in the housing and wellbeing sector because of the demand for temporary accommodation.

The overspend in that sector stands at £829,000, which adds to overspends in the chief finance officer and the customers & communities departments as well, totalling £1.343million. The projected shortfall is helped out by a total underspend of £551,000 from other council departments.

Council papers say: “Demand for temporary accommodation has increased since the approval of the action plan in April, resulting in a forecast pressure of £450k and a corresponding pressure of £230k due to an increase in bad debt relating to temporary accommodation.

“The temporary accommodation implementation group which meets fortnightly is monitoring the use and cost of temporary accommodation with the aim of reducing through a series of measures. Quarterly targets to reduce demand are in place.”

Speaking about the overall situation at Wednesday’s meeting (November 13), the cabinet member for finance, Councillor Brandon Eldred, said: “The impact of universal credit is putting a bit of a strain on us, and temporary accommodation is something we are still doing work on to try and reduce that pressure. Income from recycling materials has dropped and it’s starting to have an effect on us, but we are on top of it and looking at how we can reduce that effect.”

Councillor Eldred said that the authority had reserves to deal with any overspend as ‘that is what they are there for’.