The city continues to manage the most challenging budget period in its history after successive cuts in grants from Central Government.

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Last year the scale of the challenge facing Wolverhampton was a forecast deficit of £123 million by 2018 to 2019. That projection was based on the best information available at the time. However, council finance bosses now predict that the scale of savings required will be £134 million over the same period.

The increase is largely due to the rising costs of looked after children, pay and pension costs, and continuing Government grant cuts.

However, the council has already implemented or identified savings of £88 million towards that target - meaning there remains £46 million of cuts to find over the coming years, of which £20 million will be presented to Cabinet in June 2015 to continue to manage the challenge effectively.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, council leader, said that the decisions councillors were being forced to make were far from easy - but his administration was committed to running the council prudently despite the enormous strains.

He added: "The savage cuts from Central Government that continue to unfairly target areas like Wolverhampton have made it impossible to continue to offer the level of services that the city deserves.

"Just like big urban areas all over the country, we are having to cut vast sums from our budget and inevitably the price to pay for that is loss of services and jobs.

"However, despite the unprecedented challenge the council is facing from government cuts we are determined to plan ahead over the medium term to make decisions that balance the books, while at the same time doing everything possible to protect essential services and invest in priorities for the people of Wolverhampton."

The city's Cabinet will be asked to agree a balanced budget, as is legally required, when it meets next Wednesday (25 February) which will then go before full council on 4 March for final agreement.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for resources said: "Sound financial management means that, the council does not intend to use its reserves (money set aside for unexpected events) to create a balanced budget in 2015 to 2016. However, regrettably in order to achieve a balanced budget in these circumstances, a council tax increase of 1.99% is necessary for the year ahead.

"The budget proposals includes cabinet being asked to agree an additional £5.7 million to ensure care of children as well as funding additional child social workers. This continues to be the highest priority for the council, as endorsed by the recent budget consultation."

  • released: Wednesday 18 February, 2015