Council has ‘under-spent’ by £2mBy Hugh Fort
July 10, 2012
Council bosses have revealed how a tactic of “aggressive cost-engineering” led to a near-£2 million under-spend across the board in the last financial year.
Tim Wheadon, chief executive of Bracknell Forest Council, revealed that a saving of £1.8 million has been made across a number of areas.
At a meeting of the council’s executive on Tuesday, Mr Wheadon revealed the council had saved more than £600,000 on the rebuild of Garth Hill College in Bull Lane.
Other areas where cash has been saved include around £52,000 on the refurbishment of the roof and chillers at the council’s Time Square Office and around £440,000 on leisure schemes.
Committee members praised the council’s prudent money management and said it puts the authority in good stead for the 2013/14 budget, which is again expected to be tough.
Mr Wheadon said: “The savings, particularly from the Garth Hill College rebuild, are from our policy of making sure everything is aggressively cost-engineered.”
He added the authority had now received all but £300,000 of £5 million trapped in the collapsed Icelandic banks.
Mr Wheadon revealed some of the problems the authority faces.
He said: “What we are finding is that we don’t yet know the amount of money we will get from central Government.
“We also don’t know how much of the business rates we’ll get when that system changes.
“We are currently working on three possible scenarios with regards to the budget while we wait to find out.”
He said this was the 14th budget in a row which the council had kept to and he “wasn’t aware” of any other authorities in the country with a similar record.
Councillor Gareth Barnard, executive member for children’s services and education, said: “It is easy to see an under-spend as a naive indication of mismanagement, but this isn’t.
“Financial management is something many councils, usually run by socialists, really struggle with.
“This is really, really good news and puts us in a strong position to take on whatever budget issues we may face next year.”