County council overspend £17m less than projected

By Tim Aldred

11 Sep 2023

Lancashire County Council County Hall

Lancashire County Council has announced that it has successfully turned a projected £17.7m overspend into just £750,000 over the last financial year.

The council's total budget for the year was £948.1m. It credits prudent management and a strong focus on finances for the achievement.

Members of the Cabinet were told at a meeting that, whilst there a number of service pressures these were mitigated through a number of 'one off's' such as grant funding and non-recurrent income settlements as well as delivery of previously agreed savings.

The areas where the most significant underspends and overspends occurred were:

  • Adult Services: £7.5m underspend due to additional income from health contributions in the form of one-off incomes
  • Treasury Management: £7.4m underspend principally due to the sale of gilts and bonds
  • Children's Social Care: £13.7m overspend due to higher than budged placement costs and extra cost of agency staff
  • Public and Integrated Transport: £5m overspend due to higher school transport costs.

Coun Alan Vincent, deputy leader of the County Council, said: "It is very pleasing that we are now £17m better off than we thought we were going to be this time last year.

"Nationally we know these are challenging times for all local authorities, and while the council's reserve position remains healthy, there are significant levels of uncertainty in relation to future years funding and expenditure levels.

"Key expenditure pressures remain across our children's social care and adult social care, and whilst growth has been built into these budgets these areas are still a high risk to future year's budgets.

"There are also additional uncertainties regarding the financial impact of inflation, the current cost-of-living pressures on energy costs, fuel and foodstuffs and the ongoing negotiations on the local government pay award for 2023/24 and beyond.

"All of these areas will remain under detailed review and we will focus all our efforts on balancing the books to keep services running both efficiently and effectively, whilst keeping spending under control in these difficult financial times.“

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