A COUNCIL has vowed to look at efficiencies across the board after a new forecast showed it was heading for a multi-million pound overspend.

The Northern Echo revealed a new financial forecast for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is predicting a £3.5m overspend on children’s service at the end of the financial year, and a total year end overspend of £4.2m.

Council documents say the figure represents a “significant budgetary over-spend” and will require “a number of mitigation measures to balance the budget”.

But councillors said they would look at ways to reduce costs across the authority without cutting jobs and reducing services, and described the latest forecast as “yet another blow”.

Cllr Christopher Massey, cabinet member for resources, said: “We are looking at a long term approach, we can’t make a decision now and we don’t want to make any rash decisions.

“We don’t want to stop any services and we don’t want to lose jobs - we will look over everything with a fresh set of eyes to see what changes we can make.

"The demand has gone up so much, and we can’t just stop someone from walking through the door who needs help, we have a legal and morale demand."

The council has been forced to cut £76.4m from its budget since 2010, resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in that period.

Anna Turley, Redcar MP, said the findings were “worrying” and called on the Government to “properly fund” children’s services.

Cllr Craig Hannaway, cabinet member for children, shared those views, adding: “It has been a common theme across public service funding, the government needs to realise we are at crisis point."

Ms Turley said: “This worrying report shows the extent of the care crisis which is having a massive impact right across our country.

"In Redcar & Cleveland the number of looked after children is almost double the level it was five years ago which is a huge increase, bringing with it huge extra costs.

“Austerity has seen social support slashed, leaving many families struggling to make ends meet, especially those with complex needs.

"It just not sustainable and the Government must be doing more, firstly to help keep children out care and secondly to properly fund services for those who are looked after away from their families.”

Durham County Council has also revealed this week it is forecasting a £0.83m overspend for the year, largely because of costs involved with providing placements for children.