A SERIES of savings by Redditch Borough Council has seen it underspend by £819,000 to increase its balances to nearly £2 million as of March 2015.
The performance was hailed by Councillor John Fisher (Labour, Matchborough), portfolio holder for corporate management, who said it had been delivered against a backdrop of increased cuts in grants from central government.
“This is a brilliant result and puts us in a much more resilient financial position,” he told last week’s council’s executive committee.
Councillors heard that the savings had come through various means, including officers taking advantage of low interest rates for borrowing, managing vacancies and using internal cover, as well as increased earnings coming into the council.
And a clearly delighted Coun Fisher used the opportunity to have a dig at the Conservative opposition: “I cannot help but remember that halfway through this financial year opposition members accused the council of being a basket case of financial competency. Will they now finally retract what was clearly an unfounded accusation?” he said.
However, Coun Brandon Clayton (Con, Astwood Bank, Feckenham) replied that the figures did not give a true reflection of the financial position, saying that money taken out of the balances would have to be put back.
“You are robbing Peter to pay Paul and these balances, good though they are, will all have disappeared by the end of the year,” he said.
Council leader Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) said: “We are expecting to be hit hard by central government in the future but a lot of hard work has gone into how the council operates and we are now in a much better position.”