Redbridge Council underspent its £179million budget by £28,000 last year.

A report, published by the authority last night, revealed a mixed bag of underspends and overspends across the authority’s departments.

It announced it used contingency within the budget and changed how it repays debt to balance the books, but that it had collected £4.4m more in council tax than it had expected to between 2017 and 2018.

A total of 97.21 per cent of council tax was collected last year, including recouping outstanding payments from earlier years.

This stands Redbridge in good stead when compared with neighbouring boroughs, which have lower rates of council tax collection.

The council revealed its biggest overspends were in areas such as health and social services. In total, the authority overspent by almost £9.9 million in this area.

Cabinet member for finance, Cllr Kam Rai, said: “This is an area where the complex needs of those using the services cannot always be easily predicted.”

But underspends were also announced, including for resources such as IT systems and HR spending, a total of £290,000 was saved last year in this area.

Members of the overview committee raised concerns about reserves and wanted reassurance that the council’s tight budget was not leaving it without a financial cushion.

Council officers present at the meeting reassured members and said the creation of new investments and borrowing schemes were set to generate more income and top-up council reserves.