Kirklees Council 'optimistic' about end of year budget position

Staff reductions, service re-designs and the continued freezing of non-essential spending are some of the ways Kirklees Council hopes to reduce its overspend “as much as possible” before the financial year is out.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A recent meeting of Kirklees Council’s overview and scrutiny management committee received an update from the council’s chief financial officer, Isabel Brittain.

Ms Brittain told the meeting that the council is looking forward to an “optimistic” budget position which has improved in recent months.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s been a difficult year for Kirklees but we have actually managed to produce a balanced budget,” she said.

Huddersfield Town HallHuddersfield Town Hall
Huddersfield Town Hall

“We’ve got a significant amount of savings – new savings within that budget – about £34.5m, some contributions to reserves that we were fortunate enough to get from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and obviously factored into that are a number of pressures.”

The areas of children and families, adults and health, and growth and regeneration were said to be experiencing the greatest pressures, with the council looking to mitigate this by reducing spend through measures such as staffing reductions, re-designing services for older people and people with disabilities, and integrating the library service.

Chair of the committee, Coun Elizabeth Smaje (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) wanted to know whether the £9.9m overspend will be reduced by the end of the financial year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cabinet member for Finance and Regeneration, Coun Graham Turner said: “I’d like to think we can get it down a bit more.

"Everybody’s working really hard to reduce spend so I’d like to think it could come down before the end of the financial year but like anything, we have to wait and see.

“We’re doing everything we can to bring it down and I’d like to bring it down as much as possible.”

When asked whether the council had a target amount it was looking to reduce its overspend by, Coun Turner replied “as much as possible”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He highlighted that the money saved by some service changes will take a while to come through.

Ms Brittain added: “I wouldn’t like to bet on what it [the overspend] would or could be but there are some opportunities that might be playing out over the next couple of weeks where we might be able to stop spending money on things or save some funding.