MONMOUTHSHIRE council is facing a budget deficit of nearly £4 million this financial year amid huge pressures in social care and children’s services.

The ‘significant’ predicted overspend of £3.99 million is by far the highest the authority has faced in recent years.

Since 2014/15, the highest deficit the council has faced at this point was just over £1 million in 2015/16.

And last year at this point, the council was predicting a budget surplus of £766,000.

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One of the biggest predicted overspends is within the council’s children and young people department, where a £3.6 million deficit is predicted.

The number of children coming into care has increased by 14 per cent since the start of the financial year, rising from 173 to 197 at the end of October.

Demand for domiciliary care has also contributed to a predicted £837,000 overspend in the adults services department.

There has been an increase in placements for younger adults with learning and physical disabilities, with 36 of these costing more than £1,000 per week.

Car parking budgets are predicted to overspend by £412, 857, with a delay in implementing an increase in parking fees.

Parking enforcement income has also not been met, with a lack of staff in the early part of the year blamed on fines being down on the expected amount.

Other overspending areas include the Passenger Transport Unit at £405,211 and the enterprise and Monlife – the council’s tourism, leisure, culture and youth service provider – at £611,709.

However the council’s £21 million purchase of Newport Leisure Park has exceeded its expected £400,000 saving by £48,000.

But the CastleGate business park venture in Caldicot is predicted to bring in a shortfall of £56,000 as a result of empty units.

The council is proposing to address the overall deficit by using one-off funding including a VAT reclaim of £1.9 million, £2 million from capital receipts and a Welsh Government grant of £310,000.

This would take the budget position to a surplus of £245,000.

A council report says: “The council’s operating model particularly around social care is not a sustainable model.

“That is not unique to Monmouthshire, but is perhaps more acute given poor annual settlement awards.”

Monmouthshire council’s cabinet will discuss the position at a meeting on Wednesday.