Blackburn with Darwen Council has almost halved it forecast budget overspend in six months.

Finance boss Cllr Vicky McGurk told the meeting of its ruling executive board on Thursday night that it now stood at £932,000.

She said that at the end of the first quarter of 2023/2024 on June 30 it was estimated to be £1.7 million.

The second quarter forecast at September it was down to £1.4m.

Her report to Thursday's meeting said: "The current forecast overspend is £932,000 at the end of Quarter Three, and I request portfolio holders to continue reviewing their budgets for the remainder of 2023/24 with a view to identifying potential mitigating actions."

She told her senior colleagues: "I would like to thank portfolio holders and our directors for their work in reducing the forecast overspend.

"Strategic leisure is currently forecasting a saving of £263,000.

"Income across the service is up 7.1 per cent across the three leisure centres for this financial year.

"The recent New Year promotion of free leisure until February 2024 has seen 311 additional people sign up to this and it is forecast that around 60 per cent of these people will continue onto full membership.

"The forecast outturn position for digital and customer services is an £373,000 underspend.

"The forecast outturn position for adult social care and health is an underspend of £510,000.

"The forecast outturn position for children, young people and education is an overspend of £4.768m where there are continuing demand and cost pressures associated with commissioned placements for looked after children

"The forecast outturn position for environment and operations is an overspend of £568,000 where as a result of the fire and subsequent closure and gradual re-opening of the crematorium the portfolio is currently receiving less income from the site.

"The forecast outturn position for growth and development is an overspend of £381,000 where there are pressures across the highways maintenance budgets and commercial investment/tenanted estate, which includes The Mall (anticipated shortfall in income from the profit share arrangement) which are offset to an extent by savings across the remainder of the portfolio.

"The forecast outturn position for finance and governance is an overspend of £479,000 partly as a result of a projected shortfall on Housing Benefit Subsidy of £480,000."

Leisure boss Cllr Damian Talbot highlighted the work of his officers which had had seen the department's fee income returned to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.

Cllr McGurk said after the meeting: "We are making good progress to achieving a balanced budget at the end of the financial year."