Blackpool Council set to overspend by £2m this year

Coun Simon Blackburn
Coun Simon Blackburn
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Blackpool Council is expected to overspend by £2m in this financial year.

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A report by council leader Coun Simon Blackburn says the main financial pressures include Children’s Services with the number of children in care in the town reaching a peak of 549 last year.

The town’s leisure assets, which include the Tower and Winter Gardens, are not forecast to break even until 2021/22 due to additional costs including the Tower Lounge refurbishment and essential Tower steel structural renewal.

But Coun Blackburn said the town hall currently held £34m in earmarked revenue reserves, which is cash set aside for specific projects but which can be spent more flexibly.

He said in his report to full council: “Revised service and financial plans continue to be delivered, including the review of non-essential spend and delays to filling non-front line vacancies.”

Coun Paul Galley, chairman of the audit committee whose role is to scrutinise council finances, said the government expected councils to become more self-funding in future.

He told The Gazette: “These are scary figures and earmarked reserves will allow us to manage it for a while.

“But if you keep overspending you have to either fund it from another department or take it out of the earmarked reserves.”

However he said he believed the council did have the right measures in place to cope with future funding reforms.

He said: “It is a revolutionary time for local government but hopefully as a council we’ll be in a sound position to deliver the services we need.”