New measures to help ease immediate financial pressures faced by councils in England due to the coronavirus outbreak have been announced by the Government.
Councils will be allowed to defer £2.6bn in business rates payments to central government and £850m in social care grants will be paid up front this month in a move aimed at helping to ease immediate pressures on local authority cash flow.
Local government secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘I am determined councils get the support they need, which is why I am taking action to ease some of the immediate financial pressures they face in responding to coronavirus, helping to protect the NHS and save lives.’
Councils had raised concerns about the huge challenges facing their finances as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including increased costs, income loss and cash flow issues.
Finance spokesman for the County Councils' Network, Cllr Carl Les, said: 'While this action is very welcome it does not represent additional funding to meet the costs of responding to the crisis, which is beginning to present real financial concerns for councils.
'Councils have significant revenue and coronavirus-related cost issues and these will only be addressed by substantive new revenue funding.
'If not, we face a real challenges in the continuation of services and budget setting later this year.'