Savings

How Hartlepool Borough Council aims to achieve nearly £10million in budget savings by 2025

Hartlepool Borough Council agents say they face an estimated £9.750m deficit in 2023-24 and 2024-25 – with more than 80 per cent coming in the first year.

Finance chiefs said the deficit had more than doubled since the June estimate due to inflation, which was “initially driven by high energy and fuel costs and is now spreading to other cost areas and wage settlements”.

They added that this stems from previous budgetary pressures such as the previous financial crisis, austerity and Covid-19.

Hartlepool Borough Council is discussing how to cut the budget by nearly £10million by 2025.

Meetings are due to take place in the coming weeks to determine how the board will balance next year’s budget, starting with the finance and policy committee on Monday, November 21.

One-time reserves and temporary investment income should be used to stagger challenges more evenly over the next two years and carry over a small amount to 2025-26.

This would leave the board with a revised deficit of £4.076m to make up for in 2023-24.

Officers say they have so far outlined £3.607million in savings councilors could pass, leaving £469,000 more to be found.

A report by director of resources and development, Chris Little, said the challenges facing Hartlepool affect the entire public sector nationwide.

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He said: “The council cannot continue to rely on one-off measures to support the budget.

“It is therefore essential that a solid savings plan is in place to achieve recurring savings.”

Another report will be presented to councilors in December with an update on potential savings and feedback from other committees.