Nottingham City Council has welcomed the news that an additional £9m has been provided by Government to support Covid 19 expenditure – but it reiterated that it won’t be anywhere near enough to deal with the overall impact the pandemic is having on the council’s finances.
The latest emergency funding allocation follows an initial award of £10.6m. However, Nottingham City Council’s current estimate of the cost of Covid 19 to the authority is £56m including additional costs of supporting social care and homelessness and lost income and this figure will continue to rise further over the coming weeks.
Care services for older and vulnerable residents represents the biggest immediate cost pressure on councils across the country which have responsibility for these services, but this latest round of funding saw less money going to councils which deliver this vital work.
Looking further ahead, the council will need to be able to maintain vital services to support residents and businesses and the local economy to recover from the effects of the Covid 19 crisis. Without adequate funding, difficult decisions in relation to local services will have to be made which will make that job much harder and it’s therefore vital that the Government honours its pledge to provide necessary financial support.
Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Sam Webster, said: “We certainly welcome this second tranche of emergency funding of £9million for local services in Nottingham but it’s important to recognise that it’s nowhere near enough to cover our estimated £56million of additional costs and lost income. As is the case for councils across the country, much more funding is required to help us meet our needs in vital areas like care services, homelessness support and children’s services.
“We want to continue to work with the Government to deal with the impact of the pandemic and to be in position where we can fully support our city to move through lockdown and into renewal and recovery. To do this, we need the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick to honour his personal pledge to stand shoulder to shoulder with councils. A decade of deep cuts to local public services has undoubtedly impacted on our financial resilience and ability to deliver vital services.
“Councils and council staff are at the forefront of dealing with the immediate public health crisis and they will also be key to enabling regeneration and recovery in the economic aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic. From public transport to job creation, from new house building to regenerating those parts of the local economy that are most seriously affected, councils will need be well resourced enough to deliver if the country is to avoid a protracted economic downturn.”