Council leaders have blamed the Labour Party for a multimillion pound overspend in the council’s budget last year.

Documents revealing the state of Slough Borough Council’s spending ending last March showed it overspent by £14 million in the financial year ending March 2024. They also said the council had to take ‘immediate action’ to avoid overspending another £11 million this year.

Conservative councillor Wal Chahal – now in charge of spending – said: “To say I’m really disappointed is probably an understatement.

“It’s unbelievable the poor quality of the budget started by our Labour colleagues.”

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Slough Labour Party has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Slough Borough Council went effectively bankrupt in 2021, leading the government to send in commissioners to oversee council spending. Since then it has been trying to balance its books by making cuts, selling assets and raising council tax.

The previous year’s budget, which runs from March 2023 – March 2024 was set when Labour was still in charge of the council. However the party lost control to the Conservatives in local elections in May that year.

In total the council overspent by some £22 million. This was partly offset by a government agreement that some of its day-to-day spending could be funded from its separate pots of money used for assets and infrastructure.

The remaining overspend has to be covered by the council’s reserves – money saved to cover additional costs.

Most of the overspend went on adult social services and homelessness provision. Councils across the country are struggling with their finances – with the rocketing costs of social care in particular putting pressure on their coffers.

But Conservative council leaders said Labour had failed to allocate enough funding to these services – resulting in the overspend.

Councillor Chahal said: “The previous administration in adult social care under provisioned it dramatically. The budget was set at 28.5 million. The spend came in at 40.9 million – a 12.4 million overspend. That is horrendous.

“The second area was temporary accommodation. The budget was set at £300,000. The spend came in at £8 million. That’s a horrendous amount of difference.”

And council leader Dexter Smith said the council’s spending on temporary accommodation for homeless people fell dramatically short.

“He said: “Under provisioning particularly with statutory services can only ever lead to us having an overspend and in the case of temporary accommodation we only had enough for 17 families – we had 700 on the books. It was always going to be this way.”

Councillor Chahal said the Conservatives had now set a ‘prudent budget.’ He said: “We’ve got to make sure we control that budget tightly going forwards.

“We cannot be in a position where we have this sort of outturn position at the end of this budget year because it will impact our ability to deliver services.”

Councillors Chahal and Smith were speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet – its leading body – on Monday June 17. The Observer contacted the Labour group for its response but has not yet received a reply.