Government must honour pledge to fund Coronavirus costs


Government funding to help the City Council through the coronavirus crisis is over five times less than needed based on current estimates, which are likely to increase as pressures mount.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced on Saturday there would be a further £1.6bn funding for councils nationwide to deal with the crisis, in addition to the initial £1.6bn already delivered.

Nottingham City Council has so far received £10.7m from the Government, which will go some way towards mitigating the serious and significant impact it is experiencing on its finances as a result of Covid-19.

But the council has identified £56.4m of direct and indirect costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic so far – with more expected as multiple pressures continue to impact the Council’s finances such as homelessness support, food parcel distribution and support for people coming out of hospital. This also includes over £9m needed for adults social care including PPE equipment, almost £3m for children’s social care. Around £13million of other income from council activities such as leisure centres, catering and parking charges, that is usually used to fund key local services has also been lost. 

Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Sam Webster, has written to Mr Jenrick to raise concerns about the level of funding the Government will be providing to see the council through the pandemic crisis, as there is uncertainty about the way funding will be allocated.

In his letter, Cllr Webster says: “We welcome your recent announcement of a second round of funding totalling £1.6bn for local authorities. However, we are very concerned to hear speculation that the methodology for allocation of this second round of funding may be changed from that used in the first. 

“The consequence of this could be that Nottingham City Council would receive a smaller share of the overall pot and would therefore be denied vital funding to help us deal with the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our immediate focus has been on making sure residents and businesses are supported through this crisis period and making sure that vitally important front line council services continue to function safely. We want to able to continue to do that to the best of our ability but we need Government to stand shoulder to shoulder with us and recognise the financial consequences we are experiencing.”

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