Brighton and Hove City Council has warned that it is in “financial peril” and will have to cut millions of pounds in spending next year to balance its books.
The Labour leader of the council Bella Sankey said that the local authority faced a £31 million budget gap in the coming financial year which starts in April.
She blamed the government’s autumn statement, saying that it fell “disastrously short” on meeting the rising demand for services and costs fuelled by inflation.
Councillor Sankey said: “The council’s finances are in an extremely perilous position.
“There was absolutely nothing in the autumn statement to provide relief for this council or local authorities who have faced a decade of heartless central government austerity – or any real-world financial help for struggling families.
“Demand for our services is increasing, especially in key areas like adult social care, children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and homelessness which is putting pressure on other services.”
She said that a government fund that allowed the council to help those who were struggling to pay for food, energy and other essential costs was being cut.
She added: “We’re being forced to look at every one of the 400 services we provide and start the extremely difficult process of deciding what are priority services and what aren’t.
“To put it bluntly, the less money we have the less services we can provide.”
Her warning came as Nottingham City Council became the latest local authority to issue a “section 114 notice”, effectively declaring itself bankrupt.
The notice was issued on Wednesday (29 November) as the council also blamed its financial problems on government funding and rising demand for services.
Nottingham City Council is at least the third local authority to issue a section 114 notice this year, with a total of 12 issued over the past five years.
Councillor Sankey said that the council was not in the same position yet – but it was in financial peril.
She added: “While we await the final detail on the local government settlement, we will almost certainly have to find millions more savings next year than planned because the government has chosen to ignore the crisis in local government funding.
“I want to reassure all of our residents we are doing everything we can to make service improvements while balancing the council’s budget which is a legal requirement.”
In the current financial year, the council has imposed a staff hiring freeze among a variety of savings measures as it tries to balance the local authority’s books by the end of March.