SOLIHULL: £15m budget hole to deal with
Image: David Irwin
A £15 million hole has opened up in Solihull Council’s budgets for the current year, the latest official data reveals.
The financial fall-out from the Covid-19 crisis and other significant pressures point to a considerable deficit at the half-way stage of 2021/22.
Senior officers said that the “unprecedented challenge” of the pandemic and a national review of social care meant that funding forecasts were “highly uncertain.”
Ongoing negotiations over staff wages and a significant increase in the cost of a new contract, currently planned for bin collections and other key services, have added further strain.
In a report which went to cabinet last night (Thursday), officers warned that “delivering a balanced budget over each of the three years of the Medium Term Financial Strategy is likely to be significantly more challenging than in
Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: “I think we’ve done a great job in managing our finances this year and over the years and there are issues in the future.
“Well whoever said it was going to be easy? But we will give it our best shot.”
The “adverse variance” includes £3.7 million from the core council budget and a further £12.04 million linked to the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).
Updates are expected to go to the budget strategy group later this year.
Papers also highlight the ongoing impact of the pandemic, even with almost all legal restrictions having been lifted.
Car park useage is still around half what it was pre-Covid, with an expected shortfall of £1.53 million in income.
More than £1 million is also expected to have been wiped off revenue from the borough’s two leisure centres.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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