Overspending puts budget under threat

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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Town hall chiefs say they are confident of meeting budget restraints despite predicted over-spending by some departments.

Blackpool Council has to make £25m of savings this year but a report by the borough treasurer shows some departments are already struggling to meet their targets.

Simon Blackburn

Simon Blackburn

The report says the council “is still predicting a significant deterioration in its financial standing in comparison with budget”.

However it adds there is £45m in reserves “and with eight months of the financial year remaining there should still be sufficient time to redress the position”.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “The pattern laid out in the report, that in the first third of the year we are behind our budget savings target, is a common one for large organisations and businesses. In fact, if you look at the last four years, our monitoring reports have followed a similar pattern.

“This is usually due to unforeseen pressures and demands on services which are part of the nature of running a council and can’t always be anticipated when setting the budget back in February - this is why not all action plans have commenced as expected.

Tony Williams

Tony Williams

“In terms of meeting our £25m target this year, our task is being made much more difficult by the fact we’re entering the fifth year of severe cuts which have so far seen the Government take away a staggering £93m from the budget we have to provide services for Blackpool residents.

“Once you have made that extreme level of cuts, and given the large amount of functions that we have to carry out by law, there simply isn’t much left to cut.

“Nevertheless we have a statutory duty to meet the target and we are confident we will do so by the year-end.”