Cheshire East Council £7.5m budget overspend

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 1:00pm

By Jenny Bonson & Stephen Topping, Local Democracy Reporter @newsjenny

Cheshire East Council needs to make £7.5 million of savings by April, following rising demand for its services.

There is £3.4 million overspend in its children and families department, which comes as the council has seen the number of cared-for children increase from 484 in March to 510 by the end of August – meaning additional costs for care placements and staff.

Meanwhile, the borough’s ageing population has led to an increase in demand for adult social care services – including some residents with more complex care needs – contributing to a further £2.1 million overspend.

CEC also faces a £1.1 million overspend in the ‘corporate’ department, which covers HR and finance, and a £1 million overspend related to employer pension contributions.

But the council believes that it will take enough ‘mitigating actions’ to make sure it balances the books by the end of the financial year.

In CEC’s mid-year finance review presented to cabinet on Tuesday, Alex Thompson, director of finance and customer services, said: “Local government is going through a period of financial challenges, with a combination of increasing demand for services, rising costs and reduced Government grant.

“The council’s response is to focus on increasing efficiency and productivity that enables us to deliver sustainable, quality services.

“Demand for council services is increasing, with more individuals and families needing support and services than ever before. This reflects an increase in population but also reflects changes in demographics.

“This demand is resulting in revenue pressures of £7.5 million (2.7 per cent) against a net revenue budget of £282.2 million.

“Robust action is being taken to mitigate this position, such as reducing non-essential spending to deliver a balanced outturn position and protect general reserves.”

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