Councils like Peterborough, are making rapid recalculations and looking at more cuts as they battle budgetary black holes exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.
It’s been reported that whilst Peterborough City Council’s budget for 2022-23 included £38m for inflation, if rising prices continue, this could see costs of up to £50m per year instead, over their budget assumptions!
Most recently, it was reported that Wigan Council has seen its own energy costs increase by about 115%,thus making it more expensive to keep open buildings that homeless and elderly people benefit from.
What is inflation?
When it comes to Peterborough City Council (as always), the financial clarity remains cloudy.
From what I have read, much of their budget is reliant upon the Consumer Price Index, and whilst some figures are referenced, NONE of them mention numbers as high as the ones presently by the Office for National Statistics.
“Peterborough City Council is particularly vulnerable to fluctuating prices and inflation due to a lack of financial resilience.”(Source)
Two of the largest cost pressures for the council are adults’ and children’s care, which have been under significant amounts of pressure for some time, and now face a double whammy of soaring prices and lack of capacity!
Some comments from me
I worry that we will soon see inflationary pain ripping through PCC and its budgets.
We already have the highest rates of inflation for at least three decades and these are driving a sharp rise in the cost of the raw materials, labour and services that the Council buys to provide public services.
Whilst energy costs are not just affecting the three-up-three-down brigade and lets not forget that the council’s finances are already at breaking point after a decade of cuts by the Tories and Lib Dems in Government.
We’re seeing austerity by stealth, and after a decade of cuts, then the pandemic and the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, it’s going to take a minor miracle for the Council in our city to survive!
We don’t care about the Councillors
For me, and many others, we’re not worried that the Councillors might have to take a pay cut or perhaps even lose their existence, as the Council ends up being recreated, or amalgamated, it’s the vulnerable people we need to be prioritising.
Thousands of vulnerable people in Peterborough, from children with special needs, to pensioners and their quality of life, are reliant on services and support from the Council.
But, if inflation continues to rise at the present levels, there will be less money for these and harsher cuts will have to be made.
Hence, when you see elected members awarding themselves pay rises, showboating as part of the jubilee and spending money on utterly unnecessary items, it shows they have still not grasped the financial reality they are in, or they have already succumbed to the annihilation of the local authority i.e. we may be in the Last Days of Sodom?