Heather Jameson 01 July 2020

COVID funding gap hits £7.4bn, LGA estimates

The funding gap created by COVID-19 now stands at £7.4bn, the Local Government Association has said.

Analysis of the June financial returns showed council incurred £4.8bn in extra cost pressures and income losses as a result of the pandemic.

The association now estimates the cost to councils will now reach £10.9bn. After the £3.2bn emergency funding provided by Government, and a further £300m from clinical commissioning groups, it leaves councils with the £7.4bn black hole.

Ministers are working on a ‘comprehensive plan’ to address the funding challenges, which could be announced when communities’ secretary Robert Jenrick speaks to the LGA’s virtual conference tomorrow (Thursday).

Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said councils ‘continue to face unsustainable finance pressures’.

‘Further funding and flexibilities are now urgent if councils are to have the certainty they need to avoid taking steps, such as in-year cuts to local services, to cope with funding shortfalls. We are already starting to see this being borne out in towns halls of all political colours across the country.

‘The Government has shown a firm commitment to fully understanding the financial pressures councils are facing as a result of COVID-19 and we are pleased it is working on a comprehensive plan to address these this financial year. We urge the Government to bring forward details as soon as possible.’

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