Bath’s past has helped reduce the financial pressures on its future.
Income generated by the city’s heritage attractions – alongside a recruitment freeze – has helped Bath & North East Somerset reduce a predicted £3.21 million overspend to under £1 million.
A detailed report on finances, which includes the reduction of a forecasted overspend, is to go before Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet on July 10.
The council’s temporary recruitment freeze, improvements in income generation in the council’s Heritage Services, and a reduction in capital financing costs following a review of capital spending plans have reduced the predicted £3.21 million overspend .
Despite continuing market pressures there was an underspend in Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing Services mainly due to better ways of buying care and other savings.
However placement costs for children and young people with complex needs have risen resulting in a £1.761 million overspend in Children and Young Peoples Services. The council is now looking closely at expenditure within the service to ensure it is able to meet any additional demand.
Councillor Richard Samuel, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, said: “Although this report shows a significant reduction in the predicted overspend thanks to firm and effective action taken by the council, the reduction in central government funding to local authorities puts all councils under severe pressure to deliver local services. We will continue to press central government to recognise these pressures and provide appropriate levels of funding to help the council maintain the level of services our community needs.”
The report before cabinet also says the council’s commercial estate continues to face challenges due to pressures on the retail sector.
The 2018/19 approved budget included the requirement for the delivery of £16.99m of savings. The final outturn position included the achievement of £13.58m or 80% of the savings target compared to 82% delivered in 2017/18. Savings items that are no longer deliverable in 2018/19 have been reviewed alongside other recurring budget pressures and have been incorporated into the financial planning assumptions for the 2019/20 budget. It is expected that delayed savings totalling £3.4m will be delivered in 2019/20.