Challenges ahead to tackle £2.2m budget deficit in Calderdale

What is Calderdale Council doing to balance the books?
What is Calderdale Council doing to balance the books?

Rising costs at a time of continued reductions in government funding combined with a growing demand for local care services have left Calderdale Council facing a current-year budget deficit of £2.2 million, according to the latest figures.

The challenging situation was reported at the first quarterly revenue monitor of the current financial year, and was discussed by Cabinet in July.

The revenue monitoring process allows the Council to forecast what the cost of delivering its services will be by the end of the financial year and compares this to the money it has available to spend.

The Council is legally required to set and maintain a balanced budget and the Cabinet will need to make sure that this is achieved by the end of March 2019. The monitoring process allows early action to take place to help achieve this.

Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said: “Whilst the financial challenges we are facing are increasing we are determined to continue to manage the Council’s budget responsibly so that we can protect those vital services which our vulnerable adults and children rely upon.

“We’re also working hard to support our frontline services which ensure that our communities are clean, safe and pleasant places to live and visit.

“However, without doubt, the pressures of growing demand and the unprecedented reduction in our funding from Central Government since 2010 mean that key services and the Council’s budget are now under a great deal of strain.”

At the next Cabinet meeting a proposed budget strategy will be considered which outlines the action which will be taken by each directorate to address the Council’s current financial position.

The report identifies that the main pressures on the Council’s overall budget are from two directorates, Adults and Children’s Services, especially the increasing number of children requiring foster care and from Public Services which has to achieve some significant savings targets.

Each Director has identified actions which, if agreed by the Cabinet, will be implemented to reduce the projected overspend by the end of March 2019.

The Cabinet will also be recommended to divert £2m from the £10m previously allocated to capital funding by the Council within its Medium Term Financial Strategy to provide further support to the revenue budget if necessary.