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Council halved overspend but 'no room for error'

The front of Shropshire Council's headquarters. Its logo is on a large concrete building front
Shropshire Council plans to make a further £62.5million in savings [BBC]

A council's overspend is almost half of what had been expected earlier in the year, new figures have revealed.

Shropshire Council had predicted a £14m overspend in January, however this reduced to £7.9m by the end of March.

The local authority said it had made more than £41m of savings in 2023-24.

The council said it expected to stay in budget in the next financial year.

Further savings of £62.5m are planned in a number of ways, including by reducing running costs, managing demand for services and reviewing property assets.

Gwilym Butler, cabinet member for finance, corporate resources and communities, said: "The outturn report clearly shows an exceptional savings delivery for the 2023/24 financial year, more than the council has ever achieved before, and is the result of robust reporting, a clear plan and hard work by officers."

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The report showed the authority's reserves had increased, but it said there was still work to do.

"This is still far below what is needed for a council of our size," said Mr Butler.

"There is absolutely no room for error in our plans to deliver even more savings this year."

The report said an increase in demand for essential services and higher costs were particular pressures.

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