Leicestershire County Council could be forced to slash up to £100 million from its budget by 2025

The hard-up council is one of the lowest-funded authorities in the country

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 5:33 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 5:34 pm
Leicestershire County Council

Leicestershire County Council could be forced to slash up to £100 million from its budget by 2025.

The cash-strapped local authority is gearing up to confront the crisis head on after being hit hard by the 18-month Covid-19 pandemic and growing demand for services.

The hard-up council is also one of the lowest-funded authorities in the country.

The authority has previously said it needs to cut back spending by £80 million by 2025 - with £23 million of that still to be identified.

And startling new forecasts warn the gap between the county council’s income and services bills could rocket by between another £10 million and £20 million by 2024/25.

The council’s cabinet is now due to discuss the latest position with its four-year medium term financial strategy on Friday September 17.

The savage impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy and spiralling costs of supporting growing numbers of vulnerable adults is piling even more pressure on the council.

Cllr Lee Breckon, the council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “We are having to navigate an extremely uncertain position and we are under no illusions about the scale of the challenges we face.

“Our careful management of taxpayers’ money over many years has put us in a better financial position than many other councils to weather the storm.

“But it is becoming increasingly harder in the circumstances we now face to balance the books in the longer term,” he said.

“We will continue to press the Government to deliver a fairer system of funding councils which does more to help those like Leicestershire that are near the bottom of the pile.”

Cllr Breckon added: “Supporting the NHS during the pandemic has been the right thing to do and funding has been gratefully received.

“We continue to work with partners in the NHS to ensure that continuing funding is received to match the increased expectations of discharge times.”

As well as the impact on its day-to-day revenue budget spending, the council faces growing pressure on its multi-million pound capital programme.

The scheme aims to deliver major infrastructure projects in Leicestershire over the next four years.

And costs are set to climb by £35 million over that period.

The council will now look again at its medium term financial strategy before carrying out a public consultation on its next proposed budget review in December.