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BUDGET: £17m 'black hole' in council finances
A £17m ‘black hole’ will develop in the county council’s budget unless MORE cuts are found by 2017, it has emerged.
Of the £98 million of savings needed over the next 3.5 years, only around £81m have been published so far.
A spreadsheet, which has been handed to politicians ahead of a crunch meeting next week, shows how a gap of £1.2m exists for 2014/15 to balance the books next year.
In 2015/6 that will rise to £7m, and in 2016/17 it will hit £9.5m, meaning £17.8m of savings still need to be identified.
Coun Hardman says he is still hoping eventual Government funding could prove better than first feared, but added officers are working up more ideas for cutting the budget.
“When we first started along this path three years ago we thought the savings we’d be looking to make would be ‘front loaded’,” he said.
“What we are actually looking at now is a pretty consistent level of cuts, and I hope it doesn’t get any worse.
“I’ve said before that we are planning for the worst and hoping for the best, and in terms of our estimates I think what we’re planning for should be pretty much spot on.
“We have to do things differently to what we’ve been doing in the past but I’m determined to come out of this stronger.”
The gap will be debated during a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board (OSPB), which is meeting at County Hall at 10am on Thursday.
The panel, a key watchdog-style committee, will be expected to offer advice to the Tory leadership on what to do. It will be chaired by Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour group.
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