Fears the Isle of Wight Council could be in dire financial trouble have been calmed by a senior cabinet member.

Cllr Jonathan Bacon, the cabinet member in charge of the council's purse strings, said the authority was as confident as it could sensibly be that it can continue to balance its books after a letter was sent out to the media by former cabinet member Cllr Karl Love.

Cllr Love feared the Isle of Wight Council was 'very' close to going the same way as Birmingham City Council, the UK's largest local authority, after it effectively declared itself bankrupt yesterday (Tuesday).

He said he had been warning bankruptcy was on the cards for years, with 'virtually nothing' coming in funds from government, following years of cuts, to support the Island, despite pleas.

Cllr Love said the council needed a significant sum or ‘it is curtains’ in the not-too-distant future.

While the authority's financial position could not be described as 'rosy', Cllr Bacon said the council had been given extra resilience after it performed better than expected in the last financial year — making additional savings.

Moving forward, Cllr Bacon said there is already an achievable draft savings programme for next year and they were working to identify and address any potential pressures that might arise due to the difficult national economic climate.

He also said the authority hopes to hear news soon about the Island Deal following the work of leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox.

The latest financial position, recently published by the council, shows the authority is forecasting an overspend of its £178.7m budget by £3.5 million.

The council has £13 million in its general reserves, as of the end of June, but it needs to retain at least £7 million before intervention has to be taken.

Cllr Love said the council is not keeping up with inflationary pressures, let alone making any kind of advancements, ‘running on the last remaining coppers in the piggy bank’.

He said: “I feel totally frustrated we cannot provide the best service possible to our residents and we have been forced by this government to cut everything but the bare minimum.”

Cllr Love left his position earlier in the year as cabinet member for Adult Social Care after he found it stressful trying to make the pounds stretch the extra mile to cover ever-growing service costs.

In this year’s budget, adult social care costs account for nearly a third of the authority’s spending and is already predicted to go over its budget by more than £2.2m.