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£882k of savings earmarked by City of York Council have not been made
ALMOST £900,000 of savings earmarked by council bosses to help balance their budget have not been made, new figures have revealed.
A rundown of how City of York Council has performed against targets for cutting expenditure during 2012/13, obtained by the authority’s Conservative group, has shown an £882,000 gap with just over a month of the financial year remaining.
The council approved £5.477 million of planned savings when its 2012/13 budget was set last February, but figures from the authority’s finance officials have shown £547,000 of the expected shortfall has not been off-set, meaning replacement savings have yet to be found elsewhere.
The areas where cost-cutting targets have not been met include the waste services section, where the budget had looked to save £50,000 through reducing the cost of collecting garden waste and £150,000 by reducing the number of collection vehicles and crews.
Planned savings in other areas have been delayed, with the details provided by officials saying some of the gaps had been filled by underspends in other areas.
Conservative councillor Paul Healey claimed the figures indicated financial “incompetence” by the Labour group which controls the council.
“This has resulted in extra financial pressures in this budget which could have been avoided, and throws into question the ability of the council to meet the financial challenges which lie ahead.
“Council leader James Alexander and his cabinet are more interested in continuing to borrow to deliver political gimmicks instead of concentrating on core services demanded by residents.”
Coun Julie Gunnell, the council’s cabinet member for corporate services, accused the Conservatives of “inconsistency on saving versus spending”, saying they had recently called for more expenditure on bus services and had advocated spending £1 million on refurbishing the Guildhall for council purposes.
“With huge savings of £62 million to be delivered over five years due to the Government, it is understandable there will, at times, be some rescheduling in the work programme,” she said.
“We are focused on bringing the council in on budget for a second consecutive year in very testing circumstances, and we should be judged on that.”