BIRMINGHAM City Council is facing a £21 million ‘black hole’ which could put key services at threat if not tackled it has emerged.
The pressures come after the outgoing Conservative-Lib Dem-run council passed a budget with some £112 million cuts in February.
But the Labour administration, which inherited the accounts following May’s local election, claims that many savings were outlined, with no detail on how they are to be achieved leaving deparments facing an over spend.
They also claim that further costs, such as interest on PFI payments and the rising demand for welfare and care services, were not accounted for.
But Conservative opposition leader Mike Whitby, defended his last budget and pointed out that there were always budget pressures, but he successfully dealt with them during his eight years in charge.
Of the total, £14 million of the pressures are on the Children, Young People and Families budget which is funding council owned schools, youth services, children’s centres and most crucially children’s social care.
Pressures highlighted include the increase demand for children’s care, the failure to recruit enough foster parents to move children out of expensive residential care homes and a failure to consider index linked price increases related to PFI payments on school buildings.
The council is optimistic that £3.2 million owed to the city in set up costs for Academy schools will be covered by the Department for Education later this year.
Labour deputy leader Coun Ian Ward said that the Tory-Lib Dems had made a series of wrong assumptions, including that levels of people needing care services or welfare would not rise this year – despite the ongoing austerity.