£14m gap as Sheffield Council tries to balance budget

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield Council is predicting a £14 million overspend but chief officers say they don’t need to “hit the panic button” yet.

The council will need to use its reserves to balance the books but has received an unexpected windfall from the Government.

Officers told a Cabinet meeting that there is still a lot of work to be done but the council is not about to go bust.

David Phillips, head of strategic finance, told the meeting: “The situation was looking very worrying three months ago but the Government gave us some money for social care and we have done some really good work with officers to deliver savings.

“The headlines are not great and there is a lot of work to do but there is a plan and we are not about to fall over the edge of a cliff. Don’t hit the panic button yet.”

The council has received £2.7m of unexpected funding from the Government to spend on adult social care, one of its biggest costs.

A few months ago the overspend was predicted to be £14.9m which officers described as “the worst case scenario”. There has now been a “modest improvement” with an overspend of £14.2m.

The overspend is mainly due to cost and demand pressures within social care, a nationwide problem.

Mr Phillips added: “The money will be spent on relieving winter pressures in social care, preventing people from going into hospital or helping them once they come out. We have been lobbying incredibly hard for some extra money so this is very welcome but we do need a lot more.”

The council has reserves of £12m plus some extra reserves ring fenced for adult social care.