Dan Peters 27 April 2020

Councils need another £12.8bn to cope with coronavirus - LGA

Councils need another £12.8bn to cope with coronavirus - LGA image

Councils may need up to another £12.8bn from the Government to get through the coronavirus crisis, the chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) has suggested.

Giving evidence to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee today, Cllr James Jamieson said the £3.2bn given by Whitehall so far had given councils ‘breathing space’.

However, he added that, based on preliminary analysis of information provided by councils, the sector could need ‘three or four times’ the amount given so far.

The comments came as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) refused to offer the sector a ‘cast-iron public commitment’ that it will fully meet extra costs to councils and compensate for lost income in order to avoid the issuing of Section 114s.

Early announcements by ministers had told councils to spend whatever it takes and suggested that they would be compensated for additional costs.

Ministers made it clear that they do not want local government to fail due to reduced cash flow or short-term budget pressures caused by COVID-19, but have not yet published plans for how they will fully support budgets for the current financial year.

And a shift in tone in a recent meeting with local government secretary Robert Jenrick rocked the sector’s confidence.

The LGA has demanded a ‘rock-solid’ written commitment for the Government to cover all extra costs incurred by councils but asked by The MJ to give one, an MHCLG spokesman said: ‘We have nothing to add at this stage.’ 

In a letter seen by The MJ to chancellor Rishi Sunak, District Councils’ Network chairman, Cllr John Fuller, wrote: ‘Further support will be critical to support services and to avoid s114s being issued by district councils in the weeks and months ahead.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Commissioner for Skills Development

Essex County Council
£39168.0 - £44298 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of over 1.5 million residents, and England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Team Manager - Family Support & Protection - Colchester

Essex County Council
Negotiable
At Essex County Council (ECC) we are "Serious about Social Work". Having won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award and been awarded 'Outst England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Paralegal/Legal Executive

Essex County Council
£30906.0 - £34017 per annum
This fixed term opportunity is to be offered on a 6-month, fixed term contract This role will be predominantly home based as a result of the pandemic England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Lead for Employability & Skills

Essex County Council
£39168.0 - £44298 per annum
Essex is a diverse county with some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country through to highly affluent communities, which gives us a wide England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Adults Social Worker - Recruitment Day - Essex

Essex County Council
£30906.0 - £42254.0 per annum
***When applying for this role, please note that interviews will be held as part of a Virtual Recruitment Day, enquire for dates in your area - *** England, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue