Mounting cost pressures mean the council may have to dip into its reserves to balance the books.

Despite ongoing efforts to save money, the council needs to plug a £1.5 million budget gap during the next financial year.

This is due to growing demand for adults’ and children’s social care, and an inability to make savings it had hoped to make.

The budget gap has been significantly reduced since October, when it stood at £3.3 million.

But if further savings and revenue raising cannot be achieved, the council will have to use some of its £39 million cash reserves to plug the gap.

Local authorities are required by law to balance their budgets – and if they fail to do so, the Government can step in and take control of spending.

Enfield Council has had its funding slashed by £178 million since 2010.

The local authority has focused on protecting services for its most vulnerable residents, investing an extra £10 million in adults’ and children’s social care.

The medium-term financial plan was discussed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (December 4).

Cabinet member for finance and procurement Cllr Mary Maguire (Labour, Palmers Green) said: “We set a budget that invests in the most vulnerable residents in the borough.

“We have invested more money in adults’ and children’s social care. That is where the pressures are.

“A further review has identified new pressures, which is why the budget gap is bigger than was forecast earlier in the year.”

Cabinet member for health and social care Cllr Alev Cazimoglu (Labour, Jubilee) welcomed the investment in social services.

She said: “People are looking to us to look after them as best we can. There was real concern out there, and it was nice to be able to say to people ‘this is what we are doing’. I am really proud of that.”

Enfield Council’s budget for the 2020-21 financial year will be agreed in February.