Monmouthshire council vow on £800k overspend
3:44pm Saturday 14th December 2013 in News
MONMOUTHSHIRE council’s chief officers assured its cabinet that they are taking action to address overspends in the children and young people and social services budgets.
Councillor Phil Murphy, the council’s cabinet member for resources, told a cabinet meeting held at County Hall near Usk that there are still significant cost pressures in these areas totalling £821,000 at month six.
Of the £4.17m savings agreed in the 2013/14 budget, 94 percent of this will be achieved albeit £357,000 in the next financial year rather than this year.
Savings totalling £236,000 are undeliverable rather than delayed.
He said: "Chief officers are actively engaged in reviewing their areas in order that more of the budget savings can be delivered or alternative sources of savings be found."
Cllr Murphy pointed out that there is a one-off cost of £774,000 for redundancies across service areas, including schools, which have or will request reserve funding approval from cabinet if necessary.
He explained that, while manageable, this position requires careful monitoring over the coming months as chief officers manage the pressures in their areas and look at alternative savings.
The impact of the 2013/14 budget is estimated at £614,000 due to savings not being achievable. This can now be reduced to £236,000 following the month six review.
Increased cost of waste (£173,000) and passenger transport SEN costs are still being incurred as the review required to achieve savings in the budget in the current year is taking longer than anticipated (£121,000) , pressures from Caldicot Castle (£89,000) and overspends in building cleaning come to £80,000 and operational schools catering of £35,000.
The social health care forecast overspend of £820,000 is predominantly caused by pressures in the children’s services area. The children and young person overspend is £744,000, of which £426,000 relates to schools-based redundancy that cabinet has approved to be covered by reserves if necessary. Schools meals is overspending by £130,000 caused by the £150,000 savings agreed in the 2013-14 budget and a drop-in uptake up school meals due to a Welsh Government healthy food initiative.
In other areas, car parks are forecasting a £124,000 overspend because fees have not increased in line with budget assumptions, which equates to £62,000 for the last two years and also a reduction in income from pay and display use since 2011-12 as a result of the economic downturn. This deficit has been partly off-set by a staff vacancy and a small increase in off-street season ticket sales to make up £33,000.
Cllr Murphy said the council can seek cabinet approval to use reserve funding if necessary, but added: “Everything is being done to make sure we do not call on them.”