Elected Members Receive Council 2022/23 Financial Performance Report

Tuesday, 20 June 2023 14:45

Elected Members on Dumfries and Galloway Council's Finance, Procurement and Transformation (FPT) Committee met today (Tuesday 20 June) to receive a report on the Council’s financial performance for the year ended 31 March 2023.

The report states that the Council balanced its budget last financial year, with a combined net service-underspend of £1.56 million.

This position provides a strong basis for the Council from which to approach what the report expects to be “an exceptionally challenging period associated with further reductions in core funding, increasing demands on Council services and continued pressures from pay and non-pay inflationary increases.”

The impact of pay and non-pay inflationary pressures on Council budgets has been the primary focus of financial monitoring activity throughout the 2022/23 financial year.

As with everyone in these challenging times, the Council has been subject to inflationary costs on items such as gas, electricity, fuel and food. The estimated cost of non-pay inflationary increases was anticipated to be £4.87 Million in 2022/23.

However, through prudent cost-reducing measures, the total non-pay inflationary cost pressures incurred by the Council was £4.32 Million, largely due to a reduction in the Council’s energy consumption levels.

Where services have underspent against their agreed budget levels, the Council’s Budget Flexibility Scheme makes provision for these underspent amounts to be transferred to Service Reserves, within agreed parameters and with Elected Member approval.

A review of the amounts held, and associated commitments, will be undertaken and reported to the next meeting of the FPT Committee, with a view to releasing amounts for further Member consideration where appropriate.

An update and proposed timetable for the 2024/25 budget development process will be presented to Full Council later this month.

Chair of Finance, Procurement and Transformation (FPT) Committee, Councillor Ivor Hyslop said: “A balanced budget in these difficult financial times is very good news for the Council, but we can’t afford to become complacent. Over the past few years our Council has made prudent choices and taken difficult decisions. These have made a difference, but the problem isn’t solved, and we face more challenging times ahead.”

Vice-Chair of FPT, Councillor Richard Marsh said: “By looking at all options available and using creative thinking to identify more opportunities, we have managed to balance our budget in extremely trying times. We know that everyone is affected by financial pressures at the moment, and we will continue to focus our funds on where they are needed most, keeping people living and working in Dumfries and Galloway at the heart of our decision-making process.”