Surrey County Council set to overspend by £24 MILLION
Liberal Democrat county councillors have criticised Conservative-run Surrey County Council after it emerged that after only two months of the new financial year, the county council is already predicted to overspend by £24 million pounds. According to the county council, this overspend has been caused by the failure to achieve millions of pounds of savings, as well as a significant overspend of £12.1m in the Children's Services department.
Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council said today:
"This overspend has been caused by a combination of factors. Firstly, the Conservative administration failed to set a realistic budget for the current financial year, leading to unrealistic and unachievable savings targets. Secondly, it is a consequence of the failure to negotiate adequate funding from their own Tory colleagues in central government, in order for the county council to run essential services for Surrey residents. And thirdly, it demonstrates that the county council has failed to learn the lessons of the CIPFA Financial Resilience Review from December 2016, which warned that "The council's financial plans are not robust and it is at risk of becoming financially unsustainable".
"The new government has also dropped plans to allow councils to retain their business rates next year, which the Conservative administration anticipated as a potential lifeline for the county council when the budget was set in February. The extra £1 billion pounds for the DUP in Northern Ireland is further proof that the government can provide extra funding when it wants to and therefore could help to alleviate the financial crisis in Surrey - but has chosen not to do so. Unless the government steps in with extra funding, Surrey County Council will find itself in a worsening financial position each year. I am calling for the government to recognise that reality and provide the funding that Surrey and other local authorities so desperately need".
A link to the Council's budget monitoring report can be found here:
A copy of the CIPFA report can be found here: