Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham council budget has £21m 'black hole'

Birmingham City Council's budget has a £21m "black hole" after the first two months of the financial year, a report has said.

The authority announced cuts of almost £62m to its 2012-13 budget in February.

According to a report for the Labour-led cabinet, savings actions of more than £15.5m had yet to be put in place when the party took control in May.

The council's Conservative group said it would wait until the details were made available before responding.

Labour regained control of the local authority from a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition at elections two months ago.

The new administration said "gross pressures", amounting to more than £5.6m, accounted for the rest of the £21m shortfall.

Deputy leader, councillor Ian Ward, said: "We feel it is important that the public know exactly where we are with the budget cuts that were implemented without solid plans for how they could be achieved.

"It is now up to the new Labour-led council to plug holes it did not create.

"We will do our best but this is a massive challenge - further black holes could very easily appear as the year progresses."

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