CONCERNS have been raised after it was revealed a Shropshire Council department has an £88,000 deficit.

The cumulative figure for licensing covers the four years since 2014/15 with taxi operator licences and miscellaneous licenses such as caravan sites and and street trading facing the biggest shortfalls.

But the overall 2017/18 figure for licensing was a £53,159 surplus.

Councillor Peter Adams questioned why the team was unable to say how long it will take to make up the deficit.

He said: “We [Shropshire Council] try to maximise whatever income that we can, but you are running at a deficit of around £22,000 each year – that is £22,000 a year that you are not raising for the council.

“How are you going to get that back?”

Mandy Beever, transactional and licensing team manager, explained it was because they can never guarantee how many licence applications will be received each year.

Ms Beever continued: “We review our fees and charges every year but there is no guarantee how many applications we are going to have.

“We can only base it on how many renewals are expected and figures from the previous years, but there are no guarantees.”

She also said some areas had improved to help recoup the deficit in others.

The fees are based on administrative procedures and formalities of awarding licences such as investigating the background and suitability of applicants, as well as monitoring and enforcement action.

Ms Beever also told the meeting of the Strategic Licensing Committee that work is ongoing to find and licence businesses providing day care to dogs, boarding for dogs and cats, and breeding animals.

It follows the introduction of a new animal welfare law which came into effect on Monday [DEL OCT 1].

Meanwhile, a 10-week consultation on the authority’s licensing policy received just 10 responses.

It has to be revised every five years.

Ms Beever said: “Despite trying to contact relevant bodies we didn’t have very many at all come back to us.

“I have no reasoning as to why that happened, but we have met our legal requirements to contact.”