Council savings

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Services across Aberdeenshire Council are continuing to deliver budget savings as part of an on-going programme to become more efficient in the way the council operates.

In his quarterly report to Policy & Resources Committee, Head of Finance Alan Wood reports a forecast underspend of £4.8million in 2011/12.

This forecast is in addition to the £52 million budget savings that the council is on track to deliver during 2011/12 and 2012/13.

The pressure to keep identifying and delivering savings is being maintained across all services as the medium term forecasts (3 to 5 years) show an increasingly difficult and challenging financial position for the council.

All services have been asked to keep up the efforts to make savings in order to reduce the burden on frontline services in the next few years.

Whilst all services are delivering savings, the major underspends are in permanent teachers (£920,000), internal transport (£648,000) and capital financing charges (£2.3m).

Services are experiencing high levels of demand leading to overspends in some areas, including home care for older people (£500,000) and residential care for older people (£520,000). In addition, there continues to be significant pressure on the building repairs and maintenance budget.

In order to highlight the importance of the council’s investment in infrastructure including a programme of new schools, care homes and leisure facilities, councillors are being asked to transfer the underspend into the council’s capital budget.

As the council’s building programme gathers pace, the capital plan will come under increasing pressure. In addition, as part of its spending review, the Scottish Government indicated that it wishes to re-profile capital grant funding to councils which could lead to temporary cuts to capital funding of around £5m in 2012/13 and also in 2013/14.

The transfer of £4.8million into the capital plan would go some way to addressing this issue.

Councillors will discuss the report at a Policy & Resources Committee today (Thursday).