Bradford Council will call for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to guarantee that councils have the resources they need to deliver vital local services, as it emerged the authority still faces a £45 million overspend this financial year.

Although the overspend is not as dramatic as first predicted over the Summer – when the Council was looking at a £55m overspend, it could still place major financial strain on local services.

The Council’s second quarter financial report has been published today, and shows how budgets are under pressure from rising prices and increasing demand for services fuelled by the impact of the cost of living crisis.

The department that faces by far the biggest overspend is the beleaguered Children’s Services department – which will be taken out of Council control next year.

In the first quarter financial report the Council predicted that the department would overspend by £33m in the coming year.

That figure has now spiralled to almost £43m.

A report going to Bradford Council’s Executive next Tuesday says this is partly down to an £18.6m predicted overspend in Children’s Social Care.

A “significant” increase in reliance on agency social workers, more expensive than Council social workers, is one of the main strains. Currently 39 per cent of children’s social workers in Bradford are agency staff – 174 agency staff.

The rising number of children in care – many of which are in placements that cost around £270,000 a year – is also referred to as a major strain on Council finances.

The report says: “Councils are also facing rising costs resulting from competition for privately run residential places, a national trend which has led the Competition and Markets Authority to call for an overhaul of the market for residential and foster care.”

Calling for more support from Government, a Council spokesman said: “Current pressures are set against a backdrop of historical austerity forcing the Council to find £310m in cuts, the impact of Covid-19 and now the cost of living crisis.

“Delays to proposed reforms to government funding to local authorities has exac-erbated the problems.

“These changes which would see Bradford benefit by £32m a year would be based on local needs and resources.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Bradford Council has strong track record of robust, responsible and prudent financial management under difficult circumstances and many of our services are delivered at low cost and to high standards.

“The current circumstances are unprecedented and we are calling on the new chancellor to ensure that councils are funded fairly and have sufficient resources to support their communities and businesses through these very challenging times.”