South Lanarkshire Council finds budget surplus just weeks after launching savings consultation

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South Lanarkshire Council is set to run a budget surplus of almost £13.5 million for the 2019/20 financial year.

A report to the council’s executive committee revealed its healthy financial position – just over a month after a consultation was launched into proposed cuts of more than £10m.

However, some under-pressure resources – including social work – are set to overspend on their individual budgets.

The executive director for finance and corporate resources, Paul Manning, told the committee that the council’s finances had improved since December.

He added that a probable out turn exercise was completed in November and December resulted in an “improvement in position” by £1.5 million.

Mr Manning said the main reasons for the underspend were because the council “didn’t anticipate” how much more council tax would be collected from new homes, and there were “better returns” on council tax arrears and loan charges than expected.

The total underspend for the year is set to be £13.4 million, of which around £10.75 million will be transferred to the council’s reserves.

Labour group leader Joe Fagan asked if the council had “any indication” the savings proposals for next year would need to be revised now the budget timetable is clearer.

Mr Manning replied that he’d the Scottish Government what the grant settlement was likely to be, but only told the council would “get a letter on February 6” with the details.

Councillors are set to decide the budget for 2020/21 on February 26.

Stephen Bark - Local Democracy Reporting Service