Underspends available to target essential projects

| February 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

As part of the new 3-year financial planning process, departments have now identified the unspent funds from their 2011 budgets to be reallocated for 2012. More than £10 million of the £40 million ‘underspends’ represent one-off savings above and beyond the targets set by the Comprehensive Spending Review. The underspends will now be used to fund essential States projects, including initiatives to tackle unemployment and improvements to States Housing.

All States departments have to identify any money allocated to their budgets which remains unspent at the end of each year. They can then apply to use the money the following year to fund continuing projects or to meet new priorities. Applications are rigorously assessed by the Treasury and Council of Ministers before departments can re-allocate funds to meet changing timescales and new requirements.

This ‘carry-forward’ process allows departments the flexibility to manage budgets across financial years and helps to eliminate the year end spend syndrome, where funding abruptly stops and restarts again, regardless of activity.

This process also gives recognition to those departments that have managed their budgets well and allows them to allocate funds to:
• meet changing spending needs
• deliver longer term savings for the Comprehensive Spending Review
• improve services in line with the draft strategic priorities of the Council of Ministers.
The ‘underspends’ from 2011 have been allocated to a number of important activities, including: –

Back to Work – £7,403,953
The Social Security Department will need to meet the increased costs in income support and to deliver the “Back to Work” programme.

Maintenance of States housing – £1,379,906
The funds will go towards new heating systems, the Le Marais bin chutes, the Le Squez refurbishment, lift refurbishment, insulation works – all of which are required under the maintenance programme.

Bowel Cancer Screening – £100,000
The National Screening Committee has found screening 55-year olds for bowel cancer is cost-effective and reduces bowel cancer deaths by 40% over 10 years. This money will be used to set up the scheme in Jersey, with recurring costs being met from funds allocated to Health and Social Services in the 2012 Business Plan.

The Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, said: “All departments have worked hard to achieve these extra savings. Earlier this month the Council of Ministers agreed a range of measures that will make the best use these funds, while still meeting the Comprehensive Spending Review’s £65 million savings target. This means we will be able to meet the pressures associated with the downturn without having to find extra funding.

“These funds will be used where they are most needed. This includes vital work, such as providing £7.5 million to support the Back to Work scheme and £1.4 million to improve States Housing. Other essential projects, such as extending the Cold Weather Bonus and introducing legislation on Anti-Discrimination have also been allocated funding.”

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