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Wrexham Council faces predicted £2.3m budget overspend amid social care pressures

WREXHAM Council is facing a predicted budget overspend of £2.3m during the current financial year amid ongoing pressures on social care.

The projected figure marks an improvement of almost £1.8m compared to the last estimate made in September this year.

It follows departments being asked to make savings and funding being received from the Welsh Government to reduce the strain on the local authority’s purse strings.

However, officials said the demand on children’s social care was continuing to cause financial difficulties.

The social care department as a whole is expected to overspend its budget by almost £3.9m, which is anticipated to be partly balanced by savings elsewhere.

In a report which covers the period from April until the end of November, council leader Mark Pritchard said the Covid-19 pandemic had contributed to the issues in social care.

He said: “There continue to be pressures in the children’s specialised residential and fostering placements budgets, as well as within the budgets for the associated specialist education costs, along with an increase in agency costs.

“The growth in specialist placements the council is dealing with is not a unique position and is a pressure facing a number of councils across the country.

“It is in part a consequence of the impact of Covid-19.

“With the likelihood of some additional placements during the remainder of the year, the service and corporate services are working closely to continue to manage the financial impact of the pressure.”

The report shows the council has made claims worth £11.8m to the Welsh Government during the current financial year.

Approximately £8.1m of that amount has been received to date from a fund set up to support local authorities through the Covid crisis.

The council has also been given more than £1.1m to cover lost income.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the authority’s customers, performance, resources and governance scrutiny committee on Thursday (January 20, 2022).

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