The county council is facing “serious” financial difficulties, a leading politician has warned, as the authority desperately searches for money to plug a major funding gap.

Last week the Bucks Free Press reported that “significant pressures” faced by Bucks County Council (BCC) means the authority is currently expected to overspend by £1.2 million at the end of March 2019.

The figures for the first quarter of the financial year were presented BCC’s cabinet this morning (July 9), prompting leader councillor Martin Tett to highlight the severity of the situation.

He went on to warn members that BCC does not have sufficient back-up funds to offset the overspend, so all council services have been ordered to review their budgets in a desperate bid to make savings.

Cllr Tett said: “This is not something unique to the county council. This is something we know councils, particularly counties, are experiencing across the country.

“But it is significant, I won’t hide that, but we need to look at how we manage it.

“We haven’t got sufficient contingencies to fully mitigate this, and we are going to have to look into other services now to see how we can make savings elsewhere to take into account the significant pressures we facing, particularly in children’s services but also in adult as well…

“It is obviously a serious situation – I’m not going to hide that from anybody here.”

Nationally council budgets are becoming increasingly stretched in the face of government cuts, while 66 per cent of authorities with children’s services were forced to dip into their reserves in 2016/17.

Demands within children’s and adult social care services are placing increasing strain on the county’s budget, with a rise in the number of children in care among the “key pressures” faced by the council.

An increase in the number of young people accessing home to school transport are placing further pressures on the education and skills budget.

However cabinet member for resources, Cllr John Chilver, remained positive stating it is still early in the financial year, so there is time to make the required savings.

He said: “The good news it is early days into the financial year so there is time to do this. Actions such as budget deep dives, the acceleration of savings and also improving income generation are all part of this.”

BCC’s overall debt position has reduced from £17 million to £10 million since 2016, according to Cllr Chilver.