Bexley’s overspend blamed on rising cost of providing child and education support

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Bexley council has revealed an overspend of over £8 million in the past year, with spending on children and education services going over budget by £13m.

The authority published its draft statement of accounts for the 2023/24 financial year last week.

Council documents claimed that financial recovery from the pandemic was impacted by inflationary pressures as a result of job vacancies and higher energy prices.

Other stressors such as contract inflation and the changing needs of residents were also named.

Council officers said in their report: “In addition to the global economy, uncertainty surrounding the future of local government funding, the impact of the reforms to business rates and long-term sustainable funding for adult social care continue to have an effect on our medium-term financial planning.

“We are lobbying the Government on these matters and make frequent representations to Ministers as we seek to influence future decision-making.”

The £8.6m overall overspend has reportedly been funded from the council’s financial planning reserve. The draft statement comes after the authority claimed in February that it projected a £39.5m overspend by 2028.

The council stated a rise of 19 per cent in residential placements for children in care this year as a reason for the £13.4 overspend figure in the children and education sector.

This was also attributed to the increased demand requiring additional staffing as well as a greater need for SEN transport. Conservative Councillor Lisa Moore said at a council meeting on March 6 that the number of children in care in Bexley had risen from 259 last year to 294 at the end of February.

The authority also named additional pressures in adult social care as a stress factor, with the sector seeing a £3m increase in spending when compared to its predicted budget. BexleyCo, the council’s development arm, was stated as owing £2.74m to the authority as of the end of March this year.

The figure came from several loans being made to the developer for projects across the borough at locations including Old Farm Place in Sidcup and Sedgemere Road beside the Abbey Wood Elizabeth line station. The latter project would see a new pair of blocks up to 21-storeys tall delivering 200 new homes to the area.

Council documents stated the aim of BexleyCo was to drive development in the borough while also generating a profit for the council in the long-term. The development arm aims to deliver 1,200 new homes in the borough, with the council claiming earlier this year that it would be investing £62m into the developer over the next 12 months.

Pictured top: Bexley Civic Centre, where Bexley Council is based (Picture: Google Street View)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.