Care costs force £15m overspend by Wakefield Council

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The rising cost of caring for vulnerable people saw the council overspend by around £15m in the last financial year.

Cash-strapped Wakefield Council will have to make more cuts to its budget this year than first expected after struggling to balance the books in 2016-17.

The overspend happened after the council was hit with millions of pounds of extra costs for looking after elderly people and placing vulnerable children in safe accommodation.

Michael Clements, assistant chief executive for resources and governance, said: “We are still finalising the 2016/17 position but expect that it will be in the order of a £15m overspend.”

The council had a target to slash £27m from its budget last year, and managed to make £24.5m of the required cuts.

But it also faced £16m of extra costs for social care and children’s safeguarding.

Wakefield is among local authorities around the country being hammered with government budget cuts.

Mr Clements said more savings were being found at Wakefield Council.

He added: “The overall position has been slightly offset by a combination of tightening of controls on spend and identification of other mitigating savings across the council.

“There are plans to balance this position by using reserves and other one-off balances.

“To balance the budget for 2017-18 the council has agreed £11.5m of additional savings, over and above the £15.5m of savings required as a result of the continued cuts in government funding.”