Blackpool Council still in the red over Covid and social care

Covid and the cost of social care are continuing to put pressure on Blackpool Council’s budget which is currently forecast to have an overspend of £6.6m.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:22 pm

Director of resources Steve Thompson told a meeting of the executive around £3.5m of the projected overspend was Covid related and the council would continue to lobby government for funds to meet requirements.

Other areas of overspending include Children’s Services which is £2.8m over budget despite the number of children in care dropping below 600 for the first time since September 2019.

But Mr Thompson said there had been a ‘staggering’ 25 per cent increase in the cost of residential care over the past 21 months.

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Town hall budgets are suffering

There was also a £300,000 overspend in adult care partly due to people with complex needs being discharged from hospital earlier.

Between 2019 and 2021 the number of hours of home care provided by the council had increased by more than 50 per cent.

But there had been good news in some areas of the council’s budget, with its wholly owned companies which include the Sandcastle Water Park, Blackpool Transport and the Winter Gardens performing better than expected.

Mr Thompson said: “At the start of the year we were looking at £5m to £6m losses across all the wholly owned companies.

“That has dropped to £4.5m and that trajectory is continuing. That’s due to better trading within the town and more clarification on government support, particularly with the transport company.”

But he warned: “It’s quite apparent local government is in a difficult place with the consequences of Covid and demographic and demand pressures.”

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