Job changes helps to save thousands from borough budget

Martin Cook

Martin Cook - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council is on course to underspend by hundreds of thousands of pounds over the current financial year – and savings on salary costs is a key reason for the shortfall, councillors will be told next week.

A report on the council’s financial position has been prepared for next Tuesday’s executive committee. There are reports on the finances four times a year so senior councillors can see how the authority is performing.

Next week the executive will hear that if current trends continue, the borough will end up with an underspend of £338,000 during the financial year which ends at the end of March next year.

The reason for this underspend is the “transitional vacancies” that occur when someone leaves their job and the council does not find a replacement immediately.

The council is on course to save £454,000 from this over the financial year – which will more than cover some overspending that is likely in other parts of its budget.

The quarterly report also confirms that on capital spending the authority will spend £1m this year on work to rebuild the Crown car park and a further £4 during the 2017/18 financial year.

And there is £7m in the budget over the next four years to help finance the preparation of the former sugar factory site at Sproughton for redevelopment.

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Portfolio holder for finance Martin Cook said the savings on salaries was nothing unusual – but it had helped the council to maintain its services without going into debt for several years.

He said; “We have been able to fund our borrowing very well and have not had to borrow since 2012 – and our cash flow has been very positive.”

The council had been able to take advantage of historically low interest rates which had also helped to keep its costs down.