Harlow Council spent £1.5m less than planned in the last financial year!
The Council’s draft statement of accounts for last year (2009/10) which are going to both the Audit Committee and the Executive Committee on Thursday night show that the Council managed to save over £1.5m despite the effect of the recession.
This is good news for the people of Harlow and shows how our budget and budget monitoring process has worked well. The under-spend is a direct result of regular monthly monitoring by Councillors of the budgetary position and of Council officers keeping a tight control on the finances of areas they run. We have been able to reduce costs in some areas, making Harlow a more efficient Council.
There were of course some unknown wins during the year, with us receiving some
more income than expected in some areas. Previous administrations planned on an element of unknown wins during the year. We felt that was wrong and so My administration purposely didn’t. Meaning that these little extras can now top up the reserves!
Just as we said on Budget night, Harlow Conservatives are always looking at ways of working smarter and better to provide value for money for our residents
£300,000 is recommended to be carried over to the current year, 2010/11 because of delays in spending. The rest of the money will be put back into the reserves helping to safeguard the Council’s future financial position.
The good news doesn’t stop there – As a result of the Council spotting an error in the Government’s housing subsidy calculations, and forcing a major U-turn from the former Labour Government, the Housing Revenue Account (which funds the Council’s housing services) also shows a £1.5m underspend, almost all of which (£1.4m) is due to an improvement in the subsidy. The original budget did anticipate the change and the year end position is broadly what it should have been.
These are significant achievements for the Council given the financial pressures facing local government.
Topping up the towns reserves puts our finances on a stronger footing and will help protect the Council’s future financial position.
We took some very tough decisions in the last two years , but doing so has resulted in a more stable financial position.
I suspect George Osborne & David Cameron will have the same thoughts tomorrow in the national budget!