An update on the financial position of Lancashire County Council has shown an underspend of £2.017m for the current financial year, against an overall revenue budget of £842.834m.
However members of the council’s cabinet were told at a meeting today (Thursday 5th November) that there remains uncertainty about the longer term financial impacts of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and levels of Government funding.
The meeting heard that a one-year Spending Review for 2021/22, rather than a review covering a number of years, would now take place with the aim of prioritising the response to Covid-19 and focus on supporting jobs. The Spending Review is expected to conclude later this month (November).
The latest forecast for the council now indicates a financial deficit of £78.791m by 2023/24, a slight decrease from the £79.306m forecast in September.
However the council is also forecast to hold £151.241m of uncommitted transitional reserve at the end of this financial year.
This is sufficient to meet the forecast gap for financial years 2021/22 and 2022/23.
Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the council, said: “We remain in a positive position thanks to the hard work of the council’s staff in managing budgets in these exceptionally trying times.
“The Spending Review due later this month will now concentrate on the next year, ensuring we can continue to respond to the demands of the current pandemic.
“Throughout this difficult time we have remained committed to supporting the most vulnerable people in Lancashire, particularly children and young people, the elderly and people with disabilities, and we will continue to do so in the future.”