Accounting error wipes £2.3m off Cambridge Council budget

by Kevin Reed

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07 Jan 2013

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AN ACCOUNTING ERROR has wiped £2.3m off Cambridge City Council's 2013 budget.

A review by Ernst & Young found that the council had made the correct adjustments to its financial forecasts in December – although the review is ongoing until all the data is analysed.

It is unclear how the error arose, although some reports point to the council's finance staff.

Council chief executive Antoinette Jackson said: "Since the discovery of errors, council finance staff have completely rebuilt their forecast from the bottom up.

"Ernst & Young are continuing to work to identify how the error happened, its impact and what we need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Leader of the Lib-Dem council Tim Bick said: "These errors change nothing in the council's actual resources. But for a period of three months the forecasts allowed the council to take a more positive view of the future than was the case in reality.

"Since being made aware last month that a problem existed, we have been considering possible scenarios and we are confident that we will be able to publish budget proposals very shortly, which are based on the realities of the situation, and continue to support our values of providing good basic services for all, investing in the city's future, and protecting the vulnerable in changing and difficult times."

Labour group leader Lewis Herbert told the BBC an investigation was needed into what he believed were likely to be "major system problems".

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