Blackpool Council accounts finally approved

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Blackpool Council has now approved its annual accounts after auditors signed off the figures following a delay of five weeks.

The council's audit committee agreed the 2017/18 accounts at its meeting on Thursday when councillors were also told there would be no financial penalties due to the hold up.

READ MORE: Concern raised as auditor refuses to sign off Blackpool Council accounts
Blackpool Council's director of resources Steve Thompson told the committee the accounts showed the council had overspent by £2.1m on its budget last year, working balances had been topped up from reserves and spending on capital projects totalled £14.5m.

One highlight was the value of the airport had risen to £4.4m compared to the £4.25m purchase price seven months earlier.

The accounts had been due to be signed off by the audit committee on July 30.

Mr Thompson said he had been disappointed not to have the process completed on time, but the 170-page document was "very complex".

He said: "But we are not alone in this and there are lessons to be learned this time, and we'll be in a better place next year.

"There are no financial penalties due to being late."

Tim Cutler, from the council's auditor KPMG, told the meeting the delay had been a procedural issue relating to pension payments.

He added another challenge had been that councils had been asked to submit their annual accounts two months earlier than normal, at the end of July.

But "a significant number" of authorities had found themselves "in the same boat" as Blackpool so a new cut-off date of September 30 had been allowed meaning town hall chiefs would not be penalised.

But Mr Cutler said the council should be "forewarned" to ensure the correct pensions figures were in place next year.