THE leader of Swansea Council has described the authority’s overspend at the end of the financial year as “remarkable”.
Although the council overspent by nearly £3million in 2018-19, earlier estimates suggested it might be up to £9 million in the red.
And the overspend has been brought down to a final figure of £883,000 by using some money held in reserves.
Referring to the £883,000 figure at a cabinet meeting, Labour leader Rob Stewart said: “Given that we were facing a £29 million savings target, I think it’s a remarkable position.”
Cllr Stewart said the administration had taken “dramatic action” to protect Swansea residents after years of central Government austerity. He added that his cabinet colleagues were doing their best to balance their departments’ books, with demand for many services rising.
Around £3 million from general reserves was previously used to address a £4.7 million overspend in 2017-18.
The end-of-year budget report before cabinet on July 18 said there was no scope within general reserves to fund additional expenditure.
Cabinet approved the revenue budget report, and also agreed to carry forward £27.9 million of unspent capital funding to the 2019-20 financial year.
It also emerged that the authority spent £56 million last year upgrading and reparing its council housing stock. It is also building new council homes.
Attending the meeting was Liberal Democrat opposition leader, Cllr Chris Holley, who asked if revenue overspending was likely to continue.
Cllr Stewart reiterated that the final overspend figure was much less than had been feared, and reminded his opponent that austerity had got under way in 2010 when the Lib-Dems were in coalition in Westminster with the Conservatives.
Cllr Holley replied: “There have been two general elections since then which your party could have won, but you didn’t.”