Previous deficit settled and cleared as Northamptonshire County Council projects slight overspend for 2018/19

A final deficit of 41.5million looks to have been brought forward to the current financial year for Northamptonshire County Council
A final deficit of 41.5million looks to have been brought forward to the current financial year for Northamptonshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council’s deficit from 2017/18 appears to have now been settled at £41.5m and cleared, but the authority is still facing an overspend of nearly £1m for the current financial year.

The latest monthly revenue monitoring report shows that the county council is currently on track for an overspend of £900,000 for the end of the financial year by March 31.

Cabinet member for finance Councillor Malcolm Longley remains hopeful that the 2018/19 budget will have balanced by the end of the financial year

Cabinet member for finance Councillor Malcolm Longley remains hopeful that the 2018/19 budget will have balanced by the end of the financial year

While it is only a £500,000 improvement from the last monthly update, it remains significantly smaller than the £30.1m projected overspend that was included in the July section 114 notice, which banned new expenditure.

At a recent full council meeting, cabinet member for finance Malcolm Longley has said he was ‘confident’ that the budget would balance at the end of 2018/19, but would make ‘no promises’.

This latest report states: “Further improvements in the financial position are still expected by the end of the financial year but savings are not being reported until they are ‘in the bank’.

“Some of the initiatives being actively pursued, include increased scrutiny of the Shaw PFI contract, ensuring maximised utilisation that may release savings within independent care.”

The proposed savings could also include a review of the management structure in adult social care, and a review of how directorates can work closer with Public Health.

Further news includes that the deficit for 2017/18 has now been settled with external auditors at a sum of £41.5m. That is due to be wiped out after the Government granted the council special dispensation to use £70m of capital funds to clear the revenue deficit. It will also allow them £20m to replenish some of the reserves that were depleted in trying to recover financial stability. Any extra cash is set to be used to mitigate any unachieveable savings in the council’s stabilisation plan.

The report adds: “The closing position for 2017-18 cannot be confirmed until the audit of the 2017-18 accounts has been concluded. At the present time, conversations with the external auditor suggest there will not be any material changes to these figures.”

The monthly report is due to be discussed at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting (March 12).