States' £15m. surplus the first for eight years

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STATES finances returned to a surplus in the region of £15m. last year – the first time in eight years.

But Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier, who updated the States yesterday on the overall financial position, warned that government was 'not out of the woods' yet, as a lot of what resulted in the surplus was a one-off.

Forecasts in June last year predicted a deficit of £10m. to £15m., largely due to a projected shortfall in revenues.

At the time Deputy St Pier outlined a series of emergency measures to balance the books, including a tightening of States recruitment controls, limiting paid overtime and a delay to capital projects where possible.

'I am pleased to report that these measures have had the desired effect – and a material impact on the year-end position,' he said.

Almost £2m. was saved by measures to limit revenue expenditure, he said, and the States' Trading Supervisory Board returned £2m. to general revenue.

Health & Social Care also got a grip on its finances and turned a forecast overspend of £2m. to £4m. into an underspend of around £700,000.

Environment & Infrastructure benefited from higher bus fare income, following a 10% growth in journeys; Home Affairs had a 4% or £1.4m. underspend; the Development & Planning Authority benefited from bumper receipts from planning control and Education, Sport & Culture returned £1.6m. of routine capital allocation, previously held as a sinking fund for future maintenance of Les Beaucamps High School.

Deputy St Pier said tight control over the budget reserve had resulted in £1.9m remaining unused.

As well as the active measures, economic conditions also contributed to a better out-turn.

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