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Spend Our Surplus

by Craig Martin on 29 September, 2019

Following the Council’s 2018-2019 financial year, it reported an underspend of £11 million. This resulted in an increase in earmarked reserves of £5.6 million, with the rest being held within the individual departments. This money is being held for the Aykley Heads development, PFI costs, Acadmisation of schools, and Capital projects.

I questioned the Council and requested that they find a way to get this back into the hands of the public. This idea was rejected by the portfolio holder, they felt this money served the community better held in the Council’s bank accounts.

We are reminded constantly about the difficult situation Durham County Council is in with reducing budgets. That their financial planning is excellent and prudent. But I would argue that if their planning is so good there wouldn’t be a sudden need at the end of the year for additional essential reserves. That actually they’re being overtly prudent to generate such a large underspend.

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