Southampton City Council likely to ask government for bail-out to help with 'financial crisis'

Southampton city council civic centre stock shot
Southampton City Council said it still needed another £15 million to balance this year's budget. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A council says it's likely to ask the government for an emergency loan to deal with a "genuine financial crisis".

Southampton City Council says it still needs another £15 million to balance this year's budget.

Labour Cllr Simon Letts, in charge of finance, announced another 50 job losses on Friday, on top of 100 posts shed so far this year.

The council has already saved £18 million out of its £371 million budget this year by closing Holcroft House care home, putting up parking charges, scrapping grants to charities and raising council tax by 5%.

Despite further planned cuts to services next year, the council is still set to be at least £38 million in the red.

ITV News Meridian spoke to people in Southampton who say it's a worrying a time

Cllr Simon Letts said: "It's a very serious matter. In terms of the impact on council taxpayers, it's not free money, should we receive it.

"It's a loan and we'd have to pay it back over 20 years so that would add extra strain on our budget in already difficult times.

"Over the last 10 years, we've taken half a billion pounds of budget reductions that's about £2,000 for every family in the city.

"That is a significant amount of money for anybody to take. If we still had the money in the bank then we would have none of these issues.

"We make the decisions that we need to make in law that we need to balance our budget.

"We wouldn't make these decisions if we were given complete freedom to operate. Unfortunately, local government has to set a balance budget every year."

A scrutiny meeting will take place tomorrow for the opposition to put questions to Cllr Letts about the process.

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