Council estimates shortfall of £23.5 million for costs across the county
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Rising inflation and increasing costs have left a shortfall of more than £23 million in the county’s finances, according to Hertfordshire County Council.
The council says that its latest financial forecast has estimated a figure of £23.5 million as ongoing pressures and the current global situation affects the budget, which was last balanced in February.
The cost has increased for the council to provide its services at current levels.
The council explained: “The bill to keep streetlights on has increased by 60%, that’s an extra £2.3 million a year just to keep the lights on after dark.”
The Resources and Performance Cabinet Panel will be asked to discuss the financial report, which has given options to make efficiency savings and use the council’s contingency and reserves to bridge the gap.
The financial situation of the council will continue to be monitored as pressures, caused by global soaring inflation and energy uncertainty, make prices rise.
Richard Roberts, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council explained that financially, the council is a very well-managed organisation and last year it came out of the pandemic able to offer a significant covid recovery package.
He will write to the new Prime Minister congratulating her and asking that she considers the pressures the council faces.
He said: “However the last six months have seen global events outside our
control unfold, with everyone in the country now dealing with increases in the cost of living. This was why we set out our cost of living support in July.”
Richard added: “We will also be doing everything we can to offer support to our most vulnerable residents and offer much-needed advice and guidance for everyone. At a time when our residents and businesses are facing unprecedented challenges I want our services to continue to be efficient, helpful and above all tied in closely with our partner district councils, voluntary and faith organisations.
“Only together can we get through this."
The Resources panel will take place on 14 Sept and can be viewed here.