Herefordshire Council has delivered a significant underspend for the second year running in continuing challenging financial circumstances.
The council’s financial outturn report for 2014/15, which was published today (Wednesday 3 June), shows incredibly positive results with delivered savings of £15million on a very challenging budget. The report also shows a substantial underspend of £600,000, which was in line with the forecasts for the financial year.
There is still a further saving of £10million needed for this financial year and robust plans are in place to successfully achieve this without any significant impact on the quality of services that residents receive. Alongside this, the council has also increased its financial reserves, which has provided additional financial stability.
Councillor Tony Johnson, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “I am delighted that the council has again been able to deliver a balanced budget and a substantial underspend at a time when we’re dealing with significantly reduced funding and increasing demand for certain services.
“However, whilst we are proud of our financial achievements, especially the fact that Herefordshire was one of only a few councils across the country to not overspend within the priority area of adult social care; we mustn’t become complacent and will continue to work with the community to address the significant challenges ahead.”
One of the major challenges will come when central Government delivers its new budget on Wednesday 8 July, which is expected to include further investment in health services and how public sector borrowing rates can be reduced to zero by 2018/19. This will have an enormous implication on Herefordshire Council and will impact on its priorities and medium term financial strategy up to 2019/20. The Government changes will mean a further reduction in funding of £42million over the next five years and with an increasing older population will see substantial changes to how services are delivered in the future.
The council’s outturn report will be discussed at Cabinet on Thursday 11 June 2015 and to find out more visit the Cabinet agenda page.