Welwyn Hatfield Council must plug £2million shortfall

PUBLISHED: 16:20 04 September 2016

Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor Duncan Bell

Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor Duncan Bell

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Welwyn Hatfield Council is facing “significant challenges” as it looks to plug a funding gap of £2million.

A review of its latest financial strategy has been published in which the £2million shortfall has been forecast and the council will be looking to plug a £560,000 gap in 2017/18.

Councillor Duncan Bell, executive member for resources, said: “Our latest medium term budget forecast presented to cabinet in August identified a general fund budget gap growing up to £2million by 2019.

“This position reflects our central government grant being phased out by the end of this Parliament and other information available and assumptions made at that time.

“With the continued uncertainty surrounding changes to local government funding and the extent of business rates we are able to retain, the data will be reviewed again over the coming months and as part of our budget discussions.

“These are still difficult financial times for all local authorities, but we will continue to work hard to protect the services we deliver to residents by looking at new ways of working, bringing in income where we can, and continuing to find efficiencies where possible.”

In the medium term financial report, the need to have money stashed away was highlighted. At the start of 2016/17 the council had £10.1million in general fund revenue reserves and £13.9million in its housing revenue account.

It stated in the report: “This financial cushion is critical for the council to be able to plan and implement new ways of delivering services for less cost, as local government continues to face a period of severe financial constraints through further reductions in central government grants. Further to this, the sector is also in a period of significant uncertainty with fundamental changes planned to the local government finance regime and the political and legislative turmoil from the decision to leave the European Union. All of this at a time when increased demand and rising customer expectations of council services continue.”

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