Value of what North East Lincolnshire Council owns drops by £23m
Exterior of Grimsby Town Hall, Grimsby
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 21 Aug 2017
The value of what North East Lincolnshire Council owns has dropped by almost £23 million this year.
The council's net worth - the value of everything NELC owns - decreased by £22.9 million in the year up to March 31, 2017.
The council's annual statement of accounts shows how the authority overspent by £147,000 last year, having spent £120.17 million against a budget of £120.02 million.
Half a million pounds more was spent on economy and growth than should have been, £17.4 million, whilst the overspend on public health last year stands at £433,000 and £444,000 more was spent than was budgeted for on children's services.
The council cites that the 2016/17 financial year was "challenging" due to further reductions in its overall funding and continued pressure in relation to business rates.
Despite the challenges, the council says it delivered a full range of services at a time of "increasing demand". The stable financial position of the council is also despite "significant funding reductions" and economic instability nationally.
An in depth look at what the council spent last year shows that the council spent £17.6 million less on providing services to the public last year, compared to in 2015/16.
Last year the council's total spend on services was £267.3 million, and in taking in to account grants for providing services and income of £139.7 million, the council's net expenditure totalled £127.6 million.
Over a third - or 35 per cent - of the council's net spent went on adult services, whilst 16 per cent of the cash went on children's services and just 4 per cent was spent on public health.
Looking at where the council earned its money for year, 21 per cent of its income came from council tax, 20 per cent from rent allowances with the rest coming from grants.
The council's pension liability, which is the value of pension benefits needing to be funded by the authority, rose by £14.4 million last year to over £190 million.
Elsewhere, the value of the council's long term assets balance rose by £4.6 million, which includes the purchase of the Victoria Mills building.
NELC reserves set aside for "unforeseen circumstances" stands at £8.3 million and is considered to be at a "prudent" level given the current level of risk the council is currently exposed to.
Borrowing from external sources is said to stand at £107 million and is at a "manageable" rate.
The huge statement of accounts document also explains how the council "must continue to maximise and accelerate growth within North East Lincolnshire", by exploiting opportunities for inward investment.
At present, the local authority is still heavily reliant on central government funding and with the level of central government funding for local authorities set to reduce, the council "needs to adapt".
Whilst the books are balanced, officers have voiced "concerns going forward" due to factors outside of the control of the council, such as the economic climate and political environment.