Devon’s budget in the black at end of financial year

County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 10 May 2019

Devon County Council has revealed its budget is in the black again at the end of the 2018/19 financial year.

Council leaders will be told next week that the authority has an underspend of £63,000 on a net revenue budget of £512 million despite another year of Government spending cuts.

In a report to the ruling Cabinet next Wednesday, County Treasurer Mary Davis says: “2018/19 has been a particularly challenging year for the authority.

“Significant overspending in children’s services resulted in a
package of measures being put in place to off-set this and it wasn’t until January that a balanced outturn was forecast.

“The final year end position is a very welcome, small underspend after transfers to and from reserves.

“The increase in the authority’s reserves will help to put the authority in a stronger position to deal with the uncertainty that remains
around future funding, Brexit and ongoing pressures in social care.”

Mrs Davis says the final outturn position for children’s services is a £9.8 million overspend.

The most significant areas of overspend have been caused by greater numbers of children with complex needs requiring residential and supported accommodation, more children being looked after and more disabled children and their families accessing short breaks’ packages.

Mrs Davis says the deficit has been partially offset by underspending in highways, infrastructure and waste with some costs funded through the capital budget, energy savings from converting street lights to LED and the effects of a comparatively mild winter.

There have also been underspendings in adult care and health, communities, planning and transport and corporate services.

Devon’s Cabinet member for finance, Stuart Barker, praised managers and staff for reducing costs while still providing vital services for the most vulnerable people across the county.

He also thanked Mrs Davis and her staff for the support and help they have given service departments to bring the budget in on target and for their comprehensive handling of the finances which have produced such a good result.

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