Northamptonshire County Council claws back projected £30m overspend to balance the books
The announcement that Northamptonshire County Council has balanced its books for the 2018/19 year with a £4.5 million underspend is a 'remarkable achievement' - the leader of the authority says.
The figures appear in the final outturn report for that financial year, which will be discussed by cabinet next week.
This is an improvement of £34.6 million on the position reported in July 2018 when the second Section 114 Notice was issued - though critics say the balanced budget has come at the cost of some services.
The £4.5 million balance will be transferred to a budget delivery reserve to support the council’s ongoing financial health in 2019-2020.
The financial position at the end of 2018-2019 means that the authority now has £39.8million in reserves.
Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Cllr Matt Golby said: “This is a remarkable achievement and goes to show the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in getting our finances back on track.
“Let’s not forget that our financial challenge stood at £64.2m at one point in the past financial year, so to be reporting an end-of-year underspend is a considerable accomplishment.
“In July when we issued the second Section 114 notice we were forecasting a £30.1m overspend. Since then we have worked tirelessly with our new management team and the Commissioners and we have made solid progress to close this gap.
“While the progress we have made as an organisation in terms of our financial situation is extraordinary, the position we were in was so grave that even with such progress our financial position remains extremely fragile.
“Therefore the hard work will need to continue to make sure we are in a strong position for the transition to the two unitary organisations.”
The 2018-2019 finances will need to be externally audited before they can be fully verified.