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Blackburn with Darwen Council under-spent by £6million
4:30pm Tuesday 10th July 2012 in Darwen
BLACKBURN with Darwen council under-spent its budget by more than £6million despite its Labour leaders complaining about the damaging effect of government cash cuts.
A report to the authority’s cabinet reveals the saving, which will now be put into its contingency reserve.
It begins by noting that the council “faced an unprecedented reduction in government funding of £33 million in the 2011/12 financial year in addition to ongoing reductions to specific grant made unexpectedly during the 2010/12 year.”
The report adds: “The council also anticipates further reductions in further years”.
But the officers tell the senior councillors on the executive board that actual spending in the 12 months to March 31st was £148.585 million against an original approved budget of £154.855 million.
The net saving of £6.27 million - four per cent of the total spending of the council - will go into reserves.
Conservative opposition leader Michael Lee said: “I shall be asking questions at the executive board meeting on Thursday about this underspend.
“My concern is whether the council is making savings for a rainy day out of current savings to the detriment of services.
“Is this underspend being achieved to put money in reserves for next year in case of further cuts and are we going to see redundancies in future as a result of this?”
The authority’s cabinet member for resources Andy Kay said: “This is not an underspend as such. We work on a two year programme and this is a prudent saving as a result of good management which has been put in the reserves to be available for next year.”
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