UNEXPECTED extra income from Blackburn with Darwen Council's investments has helped it turn a £3million overspend on services into a £57,000 underspend on it 2023/24 budget.

A report to the authority's executive board on Thursday night outlines its success at achieving a break even position for the financial year.

Resources boss Cllr Vicky McGurk's document reveals that the portfolio budgets for the council were £3.525m in the red compared to the original estimates for the year with much of this a result of £4.433m overspend on children's services and education.

But the total budget for 2023/24 comes in at £127,072 compared to the original projection of £127,129 leading to the overall net underspend of £57,000 paid into reserves.

Higher than expected interest rates have meant that extra investment income of £3.157m that has helped to boost the authority’s financial outturn for the 12 months.

And the council also recorded an underspend of £1.201m on the cost of debt due to lower than expected temporary borrowing and the fact that it did not need to take any new borrowing during the year.

Adult social care and health recorded an underspend of £1.041m due to the authority managing to maximise external funding opportunities.

Cllr McGurk said: “I’m pleased that we can report a balanced outturn, and I want to pay tribute to the finance team and, indeed, all council departments, for their hard work all year round in management their budgets.

“We’re also contributing money to the council’s reserves, due to underspends during the year.

"Increasing our reserves by £5.8m puts us in a strong position to manage the risks of future financial challenges.

“We’ll continue to use our resources wisely, to deliver value for money services for local residents.”

Cllr Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:“One of our main priorities is tackling the budget challenge, to ensure that the council is in a strong position and to ensure that the resources we have are used in the best way possible to deliver council services, particularly to support the most vulnerable people in our local communities.

“Supported by a robust medium term financial planning framework and with a focus on proactive investment, implementing our financial strategy is indeed challenging, but by continuously improving and being forward-thinking, creative and innovative, I have confidence that we can continue to manage our finances well.”

The authority's environment and operations department overspent by £379,000 and public health, prevention and wellbeing by £13,000.

But the council digital and customer service department underspent by £406,000 and growth and development came in £160,000 under budget.