COUNCIL chiefs are facing being nearly £3m out of pocket by 2024 – despite carving more than £1m off spending in the last year.

Wyre Forest District Council predicts it will have a funding gap of around £2.7m in three years’ time, largely due to the financial fallout from the Covid pandemic.

Although government funding has helped soften the blow of extra costs and the need for compensation for people on reduced incomes during the coronavirus crisis, officials say it has still made the financial situation even worse.

Savings in the last year amount to £1.074m, made worse by a change to how government funds are distributed which have led to a £500,000 drop in business rates cash.

Councillor Mary Rayner, cabinet member for finance and capital portfolio, said: “To make this amount of savings given the current financial landscape is a fantastic achievement.

“Credit should be given to staff across the council who continue to adapt and find new ways of working to reduce expenditure.

“But these remain increasingly difficult times – the effect of the pandemic is still being felt.

“While we have welcomed the government’s additional grants, they have not covered the full financial burden on the council.

“It is extremely difficult to forecast the full extent of the impact on council finances, but we have been able to balance our expenditure and income in the last financial year with just a small increase in the planned use of reserves.

“We have a major challenge ahead to close our projected funding gap.”