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Denbighshire North Wales Politics

Finance officers say ‘positive news’ despite £2.8m budget overspend

Denbighshire County Council

DENBIGHSHIRE is forecasting being millions of pounds in the red as it approaches the end of the financial year.

At a cabinet meeting today (Tuesday), cabinet members were told the council faces an overspend of its budget of £2.8m in 2023/24.

Despite the news, the council’s finance officers told cabinet members it was ‘positive’ news as the overall amount had dropped from £3.2m.

The report follows Denbighshire increasing council tax by a whopping 9.34% after the authority revealed it was facing a £24.5m black hole in the next financial year of 2024/25.

Denbighshire is looking at a range of service cuts with library operating hours already facing cuts to make next year’s books balance.

But the authority’s head of finance Liz Thomas said some savings had been found in the current financial year.

“We are forecasting an overspend of £2.8m at the end of the financial year, and that is compared to £3.2m that we were forecasting last month,” she said.

“So that is an overall decrease of just under £390,000 reduction in the overspend, so that is a positive movement.

“The areas of overspend continued to be in the areas we have been reporting monthly, and that is in education, children’s services, in highways and environmental services, and in adult social care and homelessness.”

She added, “There has been an increase in the highways and environmental overspend by £234,000 this month, due to winter maintenance costs and the increased costs of fleet.”

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Ms Thomas went on to explain that the overspend had been offset by underspend in other departments and claimed there had been large savings in unused corporate contingency funds, now the end of the financial year was approaching.

Denbighshire’s leader Cllr Jason McLellan added, “We are still in a very difficult place financially. Good to see that the overspend has reduced for this month, but there are obviously challenges ahead.”

Cabinet members heard that the council’s net revenue budget was £250.793 in 2023/24.

Councillors noted the budgets set for 2023/24 and progress against the agreed strategy.