Nearly one in five county council leaders are ‘not confident’ they can deliver a balanced budget nest year without extra funding, a new survey has revealed.
The survey, conducted by the County Council Network (CCN), found 17% were ‘not confident’ and 19% were ‘neutral’ on balancing their budget in 2019/20.
Looking beyond 2020/21, only a third of councils said they were confident they will be able to deliver a balanced budget that year without an extra cash injection.
New analysis by CCN today also revealed that county authorities in England are facing funding pressures of £3.2bn over the next two years alone, £1.8bn of which are due to costs ‘out of their control’.
CCN says councils will need a pre-spending review cash injection next year to prevent severe service closures.
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network and leader of Kent County Council, said: ‘We will work hard to deliver the savings required this year, but the scope for making deliverable savings has dramatically reduced and decisions for next year will be truly unpalatable if we are to fulfil our statutory duties. Without additional resource, the worst is yet to come.
’Counties want to work with the government. We need to start a sensible conversation with minsters this summer to provide sufficient short-term resources for the next financial year, ahead of a longer-term deal in the Spending Review.’