Council announces £11m underspend

Aberdeenshire councillors will be presented with a report on the authority’s unaudited statement of accounts this week that shows an £11million underspend by the authority in 2010/11.

Services have put in place measures such as strict financial control over vacancies, discretionary spending and reduced business mileage as staff continue to control, manage and reduce budgets.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of finance Derek Yule said: “The underspend, represents 2% of our overall budget and is a result of one-off savings that will increase our balances and put us in a much stronger position to deal with future risks.

“Our position is comparative with other local authorities in Scotland as we all look to manage within our resources in this tough economic climate.

“Balances are important to give the council capacity to deal with unplanned expenditure such as severe weather events as well as the ability to develop invest to save schemes – all vital for long term financial control.”

The underspend is recommended to be split four ways:

q £5.6million towards

organisational redesign and

management of financial risks

q £3million for winter maintenance and other emergencies

q £1.7million of ring-fenced funds to be carried forward

q £0.7million transferred to prevent fluctuation in the school transport budget

Chief executive Colin Mackenzie said: “I commend the efforts made across all services to manage the budgets to get to this position.

“We have an excellent record in financial management and will continue to look at how we can do things differently and deliver savings to rise to the economic challenges we face.

“Our finance officers have provided sound advice on our position and our elected members will analyse the details before making any final decisions.”

Once members have received the report the accounts will be submitted to Audit Scotland and full further analysis of expenditure and audited accounts will be presented to a future meeting of the council on September 29.