Slow spending on council projects left cash in the bank last year, figures reveal

Many council departments failed to spend all the cash they had been allocated for major projects in Barnsley last year – triggering ‘amber’ warnings on a traffic light system.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 11:24 am
Updated Friday, 21st June 2019, 1:37 pm
Underspend: Barnsley Council was left with cash in the bank last year

The council’s end of year financial report shows millions of pounds earmarked for major improvement schemes have been subject to ‘slippage’, meaning the money is now expected to be spent in the current year.

Among those affected is the Section 106 programme, which uses money from housing developers to pay for improvements, where just over £2m was expected to be spent, though around £800,000 remained in the bank at the end of the year. The council now has 63 schemes progressing, including affordable housing, education and work on public open spaces.

Its vehicle replacement programme saw its whole £2m budget slide unspent into this year, largely due to late delivery of a new fleet of refuse trucks and other problems sourcing vehicles.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Spending on the highways network was also affected, but that was because spending on an extra £4m allocated by the council only started in the last three months of the year.

In education, money went more slowly than expected on providing additional pupil places and in creating an extension to Penistone Grammar School.

One area which achieved green light status was work at Cannon Hall, mainly using a £2.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has progressed as expected.