Hampshire residents face more cuts to services due to £200m budget hole

More cuts to services are likely to be on the way after it was revealed that Hampshire County Council is facing a £200 million budget black hole.

Hampshire County Council has revealed that it is expecting the budget gap to reach this amount by 2025/26 and says it is “unprecedented.”

The figure comes from work on a new medium term financial strategy – the progress of which will be presented to the cabinet next week.

Early projections at the start of this year had this figure at £237m. Councillors across the political spectrum have voiced concerns about the county council’s financial future.

Council leader, Councillor Rob Humby, said: “The financial pressures facing the county council by 2025/26 will be our toughest yet.

“We are not alone in this unprecedented financial situation, this is a national problem as the entire system of local government finance is simply not fit for purpose and urgent root-and-branch changes are needed to this funding model if the sector as a whole is going to survive this difficult period.

“The money we get in from increased council tax and from government each year simply is not enough to cover the increased costs of inflation and growth in services – particularly in social care, but also across highways, waste and the growing need for new technologies.”

No additional government funding is expected over the next two years, Councillor Humby added.

The news comes as adult social care costs rise by 18 per cent, with similar inflation troubles in the construction industry and a national recession looming.

Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Keith House, said: “The county council is in a deep dark financial hole that gets worse each year.

“The underlying issue is this government has failed to fund adult and children’s services fully for more than a decade, and the Conservative administration has failed to make any impact on local MPs and government ministers to sort this out.

“This is a problem of the Conservative Party’s making and it is Hampshire residents who are paying the price with endless cuts in services and more to come. But the county council could have done more over the years to raise more income and be more fleet of foot commercially, as the Liberal Democrats have advised.