Southend City Council cuts budget deficit to £10.7million.

Southend City Council has managed to slash its budget deficit from £14million to £10.7million.

While the council has made good progress in slashing the revenue budget shortfall by £3.3million since July, it still has a long way to go to balance its books before the end of the financial year.

In addition, a predicted £9.3million deficit for 2024/25 is now standing at £15million.

Tony Cox, leader of the council, said: “It’s following the right trajectory – that’s why we have to keep on top of it. We will be need to double down. That’s because where we’re not having had budgets that have been balanced in years, it makes for high deficits.

“We’re only doing that by all the sterling work by cabinet. It’s been all hands to the pump in looking at getting the exact position of where we are so we can take the appropriate measures to bring the inherited financial mess under control.”

A report to the council’s cabinet, which will meet on Monday, says, like other councils across the country, it is still facing the spectre of having to issue a s114 notice, effectively declaring bankruptcy.

It has called for voluntary redundancies, a recruitment freeze, department restructuring and the sale of council assets.

It has also launched a consultation on other measures, including closing four children’s centres and two libraries to help with a predicted £30million budget gap over the next four to five years.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter