A POTENTIAL funding gap of £1.1m over the next five years has been revealed in a report to Christchurch councillors - despite being on budget for the next financial year.

Members of Christchurch Borough Council's resources committee were told the worst case scenario will see a seven-figure financial shortage between 2019/20 and 2022/23.

A mid-point scenario still sees a £600,000 funding gap over the same four-year period.

Daniel Povey, Christchurch and East Dorset Council's financial services manager, said: “The council considers the mid-point scenario to be the best estimate of the savings required to balance the books but we present members with a range of scenarios for their information.

“As part of the current budget process for 2018/19 the council has started to consider what can be done to address this relatively modest budget gap but more work is required.

"As a balanced position is forecast for 2018/19 the council has time to put in place measures to bridge the budget gap that appears in 2019/20.

"Areas under consideration include further cost efficiencies and income generation.”

At the resources committee meeting, Mr Povey told members the MTFS report has been produced in the background of significant financial uncertainty for two primary reasons.

These factors are the wait for the Secretary of State's decision on whether local government reorganisation will go ahead and the implementation of a new tariff adjustment with the government.

Tariff adjustment is money given to the government from local authorities perceived to have a solid financial base, which is redistributed to where there is a greater need.

The current council tariff adjustment settlement ends in 2019/20.

The projected worst cast scenario for the new agreement would see the council paying £875,000 in 2022/23 - a £500,000 increase compared to 2019/20.

The best case situation still sees the council paying £450,000 in five years time.

Despite the funding gaps identified in the report, councillors were supportive of the position the council finds itself in.

Cllr David Flagg, leader of the council, said: "Clearly one of the issues we have is we don't know what the answer is going to be from the Secretary of State, but I'm confident that our officers will do everything they can to ensure that we move forward on an even keel."

Cllr Colin Bungey, added: "I'm sure there are a lot of councils in Dorset and elsewhere that would like to be in as good of a position as we are."