Islington Council criticised for huge underspend

Islington Council has been lambasted for failing to spend an expected �35million of its budget for new buildings.

Figures show that only �50million of the �165million budget has been spent half way through the financial year – just 30 per cent.

By the end of the year, spending is forecast to be �35million below what it should be, with expenditure on housing alone �22million under budget.

The council has been criticised in the past for keeping a �10million reserve fund.

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of Islington Council’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “To not spend �10million in two years is incredible when Labour councillors claim there is no money and they are being forced to make cuts. Think how many services and jobs that could save in Islington.

“But the failure to spend �35 million capital funding on things like new homes beggars belief. What kind of way is this to run a council?”

Cllr Richard Greening, Islington Council’s executive member for finance said: “Cllr Stacy is right to raise this, but none of this money will be lost, and most of the underspend is due to projects being held up for good reasons, like consulting leaseholders.

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“The extent of the underspend is something I am concerned about and I will be raising it at the next HfI board meeting. We are determined to get on top of the situation and take action to prevent further slippage. We also need to keep some money as a contingency fund – to say we don’t need reserves is ridiculous.”