Laura Sharman 29 May 2020

Councils will need £6bn to balance budgets this year, says LGA

Councils will need another £6bn to cover the costs and lost income caused by the coronavirus crisis, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

The LGA analysis of May’s returns shows that the emergency funding provided by Government has fully met the extra Covid-19 costs and losses of income over the past three months.

However, councils could need as much as £6bn more to cover the costs of coping with the coronavirus pandemic during this financial year. Nearly two-thirds of this funding would be needed to cover lost income, while the rest would be needed to cover extra cost pressures as a result of the pandemic.

It warned that without knowing when further funding will be received, councils may be forced to make in-year cuts to local services.

Cllr James Jamieson, LGA chairman, said: ‘Concerns remain about the ongoing financial pressures ahead. Councils will need further funding and financial flexibilities in the weeks and months ahead to meet ongoing COVID-19 pressures and to keep services running normally.

’Certainty around this is desperately-needed so councils can balance their budgets this year and take vital decisions about how to pay for vital local services next year.’

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