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Northamptonshire's expected £10m overspend a 'serious risk'

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Northamptonshire CC is facing a £10.3m overspend in 2017-18 largely due to pressures on adult social care services, while £27m in-year savings are in doubt.

The council has described the current situation as “exceptionally difficult”.

This comes after housing and communities secretary Sajid Javid last week appointed an inspector to probe Northamptonshire’s precarious financial position. Leader Heather Smith (Con) said she was “looking forward” to it.

Director of finance Mark McLaughlin’s report, due to go before cabinet this afternoon, said the county council’s consolidated budget forecasts a £10.3m overspend in 2017-18 which is “predominately driven by increased pressure on demand led care budgets” in adult social care services.

“The forecast overspend of £10.3m represents a serious risk at this stage in the financial year,” Mr McLaughlin’s report said. “With extremely limited reserves and with considerable risk attached to both demand-led costs and to savings proposals the management of this financial risk is the county council’s top priority and management action will continue to the end of the financial year.”

Since 2010-11, the county council has saved £376m. However, a further £105m savings are needed between 2018-19 and 2021-22.

The report said £30.9m of £58m in-year savings “are forecast to be delivered”.

In order to deliver a balanced budget this year the council has implemented “specific spending controls on expenditure such as recruitment, consultancy and other discretionary expenditure”, while ”unpaid leave has been implemented” for most staff.

In addition, £5.3m of the council’s reserves “has been identified to be released to offset pressure elsewhere”. In addition, the county has £12m in general reserves.

 

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