Leeds City Council faced with unexpected £20.4million hole in its budget due to impact of cost of living crisis

Freezes on recruitment and non-essential spending are being undertaken by Leeds City Council as it looks to tackle additional budget pressures of £20.4million for this year caused by rising national costs.
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An updated report on the council’s financial position will be considered by senior councillors on the executive board at its meeting at the Civic Hall next Wednesday (October 19).

The report details how unexpected significant rises in inflation and energy costs this year which have triggered a cost of living crisis nationally are impacting on the council’s in-year budget position.

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As a response to the shortfall, the council is freezing recruitment including on agency staff and overtime, as well as non-essential spend, except where this is necessary for health and safety or statutory reasons.

The meeting will be held at Leeds Civic Hall next Wednesday.The meeting will be held at Leeds Civic Hall next Wednesday.
The meeting will be held at Leeds Civic Hall next Wednesday.

All areas of the council have been asked to identify areas for potential additional savings, and when these are taken into account the deficit reduces to £17.98m remaining to be found in this financial year.

The council has already said that its decision to cancel six Bonfire Night events and the annual German Christmas Market were brought about by budget pressures.

Deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for resources Councillor Debra Coupar said: “We all know the cost of living crisis is now dominating the national news with people getting really worried about how they are going to pay their bills and make ends meet. The council is committed to doing everything we can, working with our partners to help people as much as possible, but the rising costs are also causing a further significant impact on council services and has resulted in this additional budget shortfall we weren’t expecting.

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“We have taken immediate action to start addressing this and we are looking at all options to try and find a solution but the position is really challenging and there is no easy answer.”

The council was already working to realise savings for the year of £16.5million, with further shortfalls expected to be addressed in the 2023/24 budget.

To see the report to be considered by the executive board view the agenda package for the meeting on the council’s website.