13.09.18

Children’s services pushes another council into overspend with Newcastle City Council going £3.5m over budget

Soaring pressures on children’s social care has pushed another local authority into financial difficulties with Newcastle City Council announcing that their budgets will go into the red by £3.5m.

Cabinet member for resources Cllr Veronica Dunn said: “As part of budget monitoring we are currently projecting an overspend of £3.5m with the single biggest pressure on children’s social care.

“This is due to cuts in government funding at a time when demand is increasing, in particular higher than expected numbers of looked-after children in independent residential and foster care, added to the difficulties of recruiting social workers.”

The difficulties faced by Newcastle City Council are no different than those faced by local authorities across the UK: earlier this week, children’s services pressures could lead to a £3m deficit for Swindon Council, whilst Hartlepool Council forecast a £6m budget deficit for 2019-20 which was partly incurred through mounting demand in looked-after children (LAC) services.

“We are working hard to ensure that all our children have a good childhood and develop the skills to become active citizens who can play positive roles in our city, but this is challenging after a decade of cuts and the fact we have a national crisis in social care," Cllr Dunn added. 

“Budget overspends can be offset by underspends in other parts of the budget. If we still have an overspend at the end of the financial year we will try to address it by using reserves in line with sound financial management.”

Last month the County Councils Network said local authorities across England are struggling to meet “escalating demand” from children’s services.

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Image credit: Geograph

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