Wyre Forest District Council has welcomed savings of more than £1 million over the last 12 months by careful budget management, including both cost savings and increased income generation to help towards meeting the costs of providing services in the future.
A report setting out the authority’s final accounts for 2016/17 shows savings of £1.1 million from an overall net budget of £12 million.
Savings come from across all services including reduced payroll costs of £93,600, reduced costs of general administration of £51,900, reduced interest on external borrowing of £71,400, £75,300 from an improvement in recovery forecasts for Icelandic investments and £189,500 from improved recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments.
As well as efficiency cost savings, external income generation is also a cornerstone of the council’s financial strategy and the overall budget saving includes increased income of £76,400 from the council’s depot services, and £40,000 increased development control income. A robust review of specific expenditure reserves also enabled over £300,000 to be released into general reserves contributing to the overall £1.1m saving for 2016/17.
Proposals to reinvest £450,000 of the £1.1million of savings will be considered by the Cabinet on Tuesday 23 May. It includes using £150,000 to fund further transformation work to generate further efficiencies as part of the Wyre Forest Forward Programme and £300,000 for business rates/regeneration initiatives.
The council must continue to find savings in order to plug a funding gap in 2019/20 of around £2m due to changes in the way local councils are funded by Central Government which is set out in a new three year financial strategy adopted earlier this year.
Cabinet member for resources Councillor Nathan Desmond said: “These continue to be challenging times for local government and I’m very pleased that through sound and prudent budget management we have yet again succeeded in making savings and generating additional income to fund the services local residents deserve and value.
“We will continue with the approach of increasing income and reducing costs wherever possible to balance the books and plug the funding gap over the next three years.
“At Wyre Forest we have a great track record of transforming the way we do things to achieve savings, rather than by simply cutting services. We will continue with this approach to ensure that Wyre Forest District has a successful local economy and is a place where people live in clean, green and safer communities.”
The Cabinet meeting takes place at 6pm Tuesday 23 May at Wyre Forest House. The meeting can also be viewed via webcast at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/webcast