Sheffield Council already facing ‘massive’ budget deficit

Sheffield Council is already facing a “massive” budget deficit – overspending by £18.7 million in just the first month of the financial year.

Friday, 27th May 2022, 4:19 pm

The shocking figure was revealed in a document prepared for the first meeting of the strategy and resources committee next week.

The situation is so serious that officers are moving the medium term financial analysis – which estimates the council’s overall position for the next few years – forward by months, aiming to publish it in July rather than autumn.

Council officers said in the report the overspend was due to a combination of agreed budget implementation plans not being fully implemented and ongoing pressures.

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View of Sheffield Council Town Hall from the Peace Gardens.

Looking ahead to the future, they said there is likely to be a potential budget gap of £68 million for the 2023/24 financial year – several million more than this year.

They added: “We do not expect to receive additional core funding – the trend in government is to support specific initiatives rather than general funding uplifts. In any case, the local government finance settlement is normally issued just before Christmas – far too late to support a budget process.

“The best we can hope for is that the government will recognise and provide funding to cover the current high rates of inflation, although there are no indications from government on this and we would not expect to get any confirmation until the autumn statement at the earliest.”

Politicians warned of the deficit during the council’s annual general meeting last week.

Sheffield Council is already facing a “massive” budget deficit – overspending by £18.7 million in just the first month of the financial year.

At the time, councillor Terry Fox, leader of the council, said: “I am going to try my best as leader to navigate our way through with all members of our committees to get this over the line.

“We have a massive deficit with the budget to sort out. Let’s take up our challenge of putting this back on the rails.

“It’s not time for party politics. It’s time for rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands really dirty into this and delivering decisions for the people of Sheffield.”

The resources committee meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 31 from 2pm.

You can read the full council document here: https://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/documents/s52585/20220531%20Finance%20Report.pdf