Babergh leader John Ward warns of 'a very difficult position' ahead of budget-setting

By Joao Santos (Local Democracy Reporter)

5th Dec 2023 | Local News

Tough budget decisions ahead (Picture: Babergh DC)
Tough budget decisions ahead (Picture: Babergh DC)

Financial pressures remain at Babergh District Council, with the authority having to be careful ahead of its budget announcements.

Babergh cabinet met yesterday afternoon to discuss the councils' quarter-two financial positions.

Like many local authorities across the country, Babergh's report identified a worsening position of its General Fund accounts — the council's main revenue account — from £681,000 in the first quarter of the financial year, to £703,000.

This is despite a projected £22,000 surplus when the budget for this financial year was set.

Babergh interim leader, Cllr John Ward, said although costs have stabilised, with inflation somewhat under control, the impact of economic pressures over the last year 'is not going to decline'.

The report also identified another worsening overspend in the council's Housing Revenue Account (HRA) — intended to manage the council's own housing stock — which showed an increased deficit from £602,000 to £907,000 in the same period.

But Cllr Ward says he still sees the 'light at the end of the tunnel' as the council's finances are not expected to change drastically until the end of the financial year, in April.

He added: "We don't see that there's going to be anything more that's going to hit us between now and the end of the financial year.

"I won't be coming in three or six months time reporting a much greater loss, the situation has stabilised.

"It's a very difficult position for local authorities at the moment but we will get there — we have to."

     

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