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Falklands Government £20m better off than budgeted

At the end of February the surplus at the end of the Financial Year was forecast to be just over forty million pounds, almost double what had been budgeted.

Standing Finance Committee (SFC) was told yesterday higher than budgeted revenues from corporation tax and personal income tax account for about two thirds of the difference.

FIG’s investments have also been performing better than expected, although it was pointed out in the report this is subject to the risk of market volatility.

Underspends in departments have made a small difference but these are also offset by a one million pound overspend on medical treatment overseas.

One item in the report was picked up by SFC Chair MLA Roger Spink; seven months of airbridge invoices from the last financial year have come out of this financial year’s budget.  According to the report, the total cost of these was two point seven million pounds but only eight hundred thousand pounds had been carried forward.

MLA Spink said that he currently had no idea what the annual cost of the airbridge is.  He wanted to know why cash accounting was still being used for airbridge fares and whether fares and invoices could be matched better.  He was told that the MoD have been more up to date with their invoices recently and Treasury will be putting together figures for the last year or two.

There was supposed to have been a briefing in the open section about the Stanley Retail Price Index.  However, that has now been postponed to take place in private at a meeting with MLAs next week.

In the closed section of the meeting, MLAs were due to consider a request from the Pensions Board and hear an update from David Roberts, General Manager of the Falkland Islands Meat Company.

They were also due to consider three papers from Tuesday that have financial implications – the papers dealt with the rolling replacement of the FIGAS fleet, a request for underwriting from FIG for a St Helena airlink and renewables projects at Sand Bay and Mare Harbour.

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