SOUTHEND Council is on course to overspend by £5million this year after the first six months of the year.

Managers have been told to cut their spending during the next few months or the council will be forced to use its reserves.

The council has ordered that “management actions” be taken, but rejected suggestions this will mean redundancies.

A spokesman for Southend Council said: “This monitoring report is not suggesting redundancies, but sets out management action to ensure that predicted budget savings are met, for example.”

The council has declined to reveal what these “management actions” may be.

Leader John Lamb said: “It is essential the council monitors its budgets throughout the year to ensure that it is transparent, achieves a balanced budget and that corrective action is taken where necessary.

“This is particularly important as we continue to receive less Government grant and face added demands and pressures on our services.

“This is particularly apparent both nationally and locally in areas such as children’s social care, where increases in demand and pressures are having an impact and make the overall financial position ever more challenging.

“In addition, issues such as poor weather conditions in early 2018 meant the condition of the road network deteriorated and as a result there was a large increase in the number of defects on the highways and footways, for example, that needed our attention.”

The council is currently set to spend £5,338,000 over its budget, but claims some of the extra has already been allowed for.

Mr Lamb said: “With actions taken to ensure that predicted savings for 2018 are delivered, the forecast overall position at the end of September is for a net overspend of £1,293,000.

“This includes the use of reserves that have been specifically earmarked for this purpose and a net underspend in some areas of the business.

“This is an improvement on the financial position reported for August.”

If the council is forced to use its reserves, it could take the council reserves below what is recommended to allow for any disasters.

The budget will be discussed at a meeting next week when some of the options to save money are expected to be discussed by the council cabinet.