“There is a massive budgetary disparity at the heart of Tory-run Worcestershire County Council. The council, which includes Housing and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s constituency, has, it seems, sought to bury a damning review of its finances carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
Worcestershire’s forecast increase in demand for services was 2.5 times larger than its expected growth in resources. The CIPFA has warned the council that they face a £26.4m hole in their finances in 2018-2019, which looks to rise to £60.1m in 2020-2021.
The shadow Housing and Communities Secretary, Andrew Gwynne MP has noticed the pertinent similarities between the situation in Worcestershire CC and Tory-run Northamptonshire County Council’s bankruptcy:
“This Government has utterly failed local government, forcing many authorities to struggle to maintain basic services after cutting their funding to the bone. The National Audit Office and the IFS are calling for a change in direction, one of the Government’s own councils has gone bankrupt, and now with this mess happening in the Secretary of State’s own Council – how much longer can Sajid Javid ignore this crisis?
Almost eight years of Tory austerity clearly isn’t working. It didn’t work for Northamptonshire, and it’s not working for Worcestershire. We need to elect as many Labour councillors as possible on 3 May to stand up to the Conservatives’ cuts.”
A reduction of 47% in the council’s usable reserves over the last 5 years, as well as overspending on children’s services, has seen the Worcestershire CC looming over a prospective £60m black hole.”