Newport council’s underspend may reach £2m
10:10am Tuesday 7th January 2014 in Gwent news
A NEW report suggests Newport City Council will have underspent by almost £2 million in its annual budget.
The forecast comes in a report for the 2013/14 revenue budget which will be put to cabinet on Monday, January 13.
As of the end of November 2013, the council budget forecasted an under spend of £1,935,000.
From this forecast, the report assumes there has been no use of the contingency budget to deal with overspending and that the council’s restructured revenue budget has been fully utilised.
This forecast has improved over the last few months, with most areas managing the budget challenges.
According to the report, published by the assistant head of finance on January 3, if contingency budgets are not required during the year, the forecast becomes an under spend of £3,408,000.
Over the next four years, Newport council has to save £25 million.
The authority is currently consulting on more than 100 proposals, which include shutting public toilets and ending the budget for the Newport Medieval Ship.
Significant individual savings detailed in the report included £842,000 from corporate services department staffing and £645,000 from children’s staffing in social services.
Elsewhere, in education, there was a £234,000 overspend on resource and planning. The report highlighted concerns over demand led budgets in this area, such as out of city placements, free school meals and home to school transport.
The report details progress on delivery of savings measures already underway. This includes a cut in music service funding from £292,000 to £5,000 and a complete cut in the £5,000 contribution to Duffryn Sports Centre.
Also among these savings is £49,000 from ceasing daytime services at the Active Living Centre in Bettws and £197,000 from ‘library rationalisation’.
Meanwhile, social services and street scene reported overspends of £139,072 and £143,000, respectively.
The report welcomes the forecast but says there are still challenges the council will need to fund from one off sources, including the implementation of the new pay and grading scheme.
The consultation for next year’s budget is now under way and closes at midnight on January 24. Public meetings will be held to discuss the budget on January 16 from noon to 2pm and 5pm and 7pm at Newport Centre.
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