Elstree Studios Boost Council's Finances

6 March 2015, 08:53

An independent report has found Hertsmere Borough Council's finances are in good shape.

The report, produced by LG Futures, showed Hertsmere Borough Council's income to expenditure ratio to be 31.5% during the financial year 2013/14, ranking third highest out of 16 neighbouring local authorities.   

Total expenditure, excluding benefits payments such as housing and council tax, for the same financial year was £33m.  A third of this was financed from our income from fees and charges, with the remaining two thirds being financed by council tax levies and government grants.

Key highlights are as follows:-

- Our income to expenditure ratio of 31.5% was higher than the nearest neighbour average (22%)

- Hertsmere's income to expenditure ratio was higher than the comparable England average (of 22.4%), and was ranked 30th highest out of 201 comparable authorities nationally.

- Between 2012/13 and 2013/14 the authority's sales, fees and charges increased by 4.1%. This compares to an average decrease of 8.7% among our nearest neighbours, and a national increase of 5.1%.

More than £4m income was earned from the council's property portfolio, including Elstree Film Studios which delivered £1.6m, while income from garages amounted to £600,000.  The remainder came from rental from council-owned business premises.

Cllr John Graham, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property, commented: "In the past few years we have experienced reductions in financial support from central government so we've redoubled our efforts to generate income which, in turn, helps to protect the services we deliver to our residents. It's encouraging to see the findings of this report, which show that we're comparing very favourably with other authorities when it comes to raising income to help lessen the burden on Hertsmere's residents. Our ownership of Elstree Film Studios, in particular, provides a valuable return whilst also protecting the borough's film and television heritage.

"As an enterprising council, we will continue to look for innovative ways of generating income, helping us to maintain this positive ratio of income to expenditure for the benefit of our residents."