Labour Accuses Tories of £37 Million Raid on Reserves

Say money is being drawn down to support 'failing' children's services

The leader of the Wandsworth Labour group, Cllr Simon Hogg, has blasted what he describes as a raid on the Council reserves to support the borough’s ‘failing’ children services.

A recent council report has shown that the Council is spending an extra £37 million on the department which had previously received an inadequate rating from OFSTED.

Subsequent inspections have upgraded the rating and the previous department head was made redundant with a payoff believed to be in the region of £300,000.

Cllr Simon Hogg

The Council’s Financial Recovery Plan shows that the overspend in the department in the last financial year (2017/8) was £6.5 million, which was £4.2 million more than forecast in February.

From 2016 to the end of the last financial year £20 million has been set aside to support the department and cover overspending, and a further £17 million has been earmarked from reserves this year. The current forecast overspend for this financial year is £4.5 million.

Cllr Simon Hogg said on Twitter, ‘Incredible to see Wandsworth Tories’ £37 million raiding of reserves to try to cover their children’s services failings.’

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “The council is investing significant sums of money in ensuring that children and young people in Wandsworth get the best possible start in life. We are continuing to invest this money despite the fact that overall government funding for town hall services across England has fallen by more than 30 per cent since 2010.

“It is because we have been careful, responsible and prudent with our finances for so long that we are still able to sustain this level of funding. If Cllr Hogg thinks this is wrong perhaps he should say which services for children and young people he would choose not to fund.”

The Council currently has a reserve fund which is just under £300 million.

October 15, 2018