Aberdeenshire Council set to be £3m over budget when tax year finishes

A local authority is set to be £3 million over budget by April – and says a lack of council tax payments is partly to blame.

Aberdeenshire Council has a budget of £550m for the current tax year, which ends in April.

A new council report said the current forecast is that the authority will have spent £2,951,000 more than the budget by the end of the tax year – 0.54% above budget.

A similar forecast made at the end of June showed the council was £3,046,000 over budget, indicating a slight improvement.

According to the report, the council has forecast that it will receive £747,000 less than expected in council tax income.

The council voted in February to raise council tax by 2.5% as part of an attempt to balance the council’s books as, in 2015/16, it announced an aim to save £50m by 2018/19.

The report, which will be presented to a council meeting at Woodhill House tomorrow, was submitted by the council’s business services director Ritchie Johnson.

It said: “It is recognised that any reduction or change in expenditure can potentially have an adverse impact on service delivery and that balance needs to be acknowledged and mitigated.

“Services are aware that there are a number of risks facing the council and that these risks are subject to ongoing review.

“These risks were reported to the council in February as part of the budget setting process for 2017/18.

“Services continue to practice a more risk-based approach to budget management, which recognises that budget variances are likely to occur.

“These should be identified at an early stage, consequences discussed and appropriate action taken to reduce, limit or otherwise avoid the financial consequences.”

The council’s deputy leader Councillor Peter Argyle, of the Lib Dems, said: “Some of these things are outside of the council’s control, such as council tax revenue.

“A lot of effort is being put in at the council to ensure the budget is on track by April.”