£100m to be carried over to borough's next capital budget, cabinet agrees

Clrr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. Picture credit: Sophie Mor

Cllr Dominic Twomey - Credit: Sophie Cox

More than £100million is being forwarded on to Barking and Dagenham's 2022-23 capital budget.

Cabinet members approved the move at a meeting on June 21.

The final capital spend for the last financial year was £360.4m, around a £108m underspend compared to the original budgeted figure.

A report before the cabinet meeting said: "The slippage in schemes is partially attributable to Covid-19 and the capacity of partners to deliver in a timely way.

"The slippage will be carried forward and added to next year’s capital programme."

Of the money being carried over, £34.8m is general fund; £49m investment strategy and £19.2m from the housing revenue account's capital budget.

Individual developments that have slipped, according to council documents, include Barking business hub Industria (£21.3m).

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Deputy council leader and finance lead, Cllr Dominic Twomey, told cabinet: "It is some considerable slippage of £108m.

"It is down to several factors - clearly Covid-19 being one of them.

"Because it was just the ability of our partners to deliver developments in a timely manner.

"This is slippage - we don't lose this, it gets rolled over into our capital programme for the following year.

"That's not to say we shouldn't note it. It's important because the bigger the capital programme becomes, the more difficult it is to deliver.

"I don't treat it lightly but I think it is fair to say there was huge slippage right across all sectors, not just local government, over the last year."

Fellow cabinet member Cllr Maureen Worby said she had concerns slippage means "everything is going to cost more, therefore we're not going to able to achieve".

"I think we need to reprofile the capital works programme across a number of work streams sooner rather than later.

"Because the reality is costs have gone up so much that we're not going to be able to do them, even with the slippage being carried over."

Overall in 2021-22, the authority ended up with a net £1.7m underspend on council services compared to forecast.

The report said: "During the year services were experiencing a range of financial pressures that led us to forecast an overspend.

"However, the position improved in the final quarter."