Council facing further £2.3million cuts as part of £11million funding black hole

Hartlepool Council needs to make a further �2.3million of savings.
Hartlepool Council needs to make a further �2.3million of savings.

A cash-strapped council is facing in excess of another £2million in cuts as it looks to fill an £11million funding black hole.

Hartlepool Borough Council says it needs to find savings of £2.3million in the next two financial years.

That is on top of £2.47million of cuts already identified from 2018/19 and 2019/20’s budgets.

Council departments are consulting now on proposals to make £220,000 in new savings on top of those already agreed.

In February, the authority approved savings of £1.685million in 2018/19 and £785,000 in 2019/20.

But reports now going before different council committees state: “However, the savings proposals approved for 2018/19 and 2019/20 did not address the full deficits and savings of £2.320million still need to be identified.

“Additional savings proposals to be considered by individual Policy Committees this month are designed to address the remaining 2018/19 deficit of £278,000.

“Proposals for addressing the remaining 2019/20 of £1.363million will be developed during 2017/18.”

The council is facing an £11million deficit for the next two financial years.

Rises in council tax, including from new homes, and a new tax to pay for social care, are set to reduce the deficit to £7,495,000.

A further £2.7million from Budget Support Fund will bring it down further.

Of the £2.3million savings needed, the council believes corporate savings will bring the figure down to £1.641million.

Department restructures including the removal of four job positions are proposed in order to save £150,000.

The council’s budget for concessionary transport fares is proposed to be cut by £20,000.

And a review of the home to school transport service aims to find £40,000 savings.

Adult Services hopes to make £50,000 income from room hire and conference income.

But the council warns that its deficit will get bigger if the Government’s 1% pay cap for public sector workers is increased and does not provide extra funding.

It says it would have to find £400,000 for every possible 1% increase.

A report said: “If, or when, the Government remove the pay cap there will be significant financial pressures if additional Government funding is not provided for public sector organisations, including councils.”

It added achieving savings that do not affect front-line services in future years is becoming more difficult.