Hampshire County Council facing ‘greatest financial challenge yet’, warns its leader

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COUNCILLORS are tackling their ‘greatest financial challenge yet’ as the authority aims to save a further £98m in 2017/18, according to Hampshire County Council’s leader Roy Perry.

Cllr Perry spoke yesterday as a finance strategy for 2017/18 was agreed and the authority started to plan for the next five years.

He warned that pressure placed on the authority as part of the government’s spending review in November will also ‘set out more tough times ahead for the public sector.’

Cllr Perry said: ‘Ongoing demand for social care to address complex needs of growing numbers of older people, and vulnerable children and adults, continues to be a major factor in our financial considerations.

‘As we head towards 2020, we must also bear in mind the future cost implications of the national living wage when it’s introduced next year, particularly in adult social care. With growing pupil numbers, the provision of secondary school places will also influence our forecasts. Taking all these into account, it represents the greatest financial challenge we face yet.’

The council’s government grant has more than halved in recent years and more than £240m of cuts have been made since 2008.