Audit shows council balancing the books well

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VALUE for money is being delivered by Hampshire County Council, according to an independent auditor.

The account books of the council – which looks after schools, roads and libraries – were looked at by the district auditor.

His report states that the level of reserves in 2010/11 – at £235m – provide a stable financial position for the council, which has been forced to make a raft of spending cuts in the wake of less money coming from the government.

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: ‘The annual letter from the district auditor shows that Hampshire County Council is delivering value for money for the residents of Hampshire.

‘We are providing our services at a lower cost per head of population than other county councils and have still achieved good and excellent ratings in independent assessments of our care services for vulnerable adults and our services for children and their families.’

The audit showed that the average net spend per head of population in Hampshire was £1,156 in 2009/10 – compared to a national average of £1,400.

He added: ‘We have managed to reduce our costs by £43m so far this year and are on track to secure the eight per cent savings we need to meet our budget gap for 2011/12, this includes the loss of 1,100 non-frontline jobs. We have kept council tax among the lowest for all county councils, despite receiving one of the lowest grants.’