William Eichler 17 June 2020

Leeds council concerned £200m of Covid costs will lead to cuts

The leader of Leeds City Council has called for urgent Government support as the costs of coronavirus in the city approaches £200m.

The council has seen its financial position severely weakened by the impact of Covid-19. Costs relating to the pandemic have risen from £164.7m last month to £197.6m today.

Leeds has received Government funding of £43.7m towards those costs from a £3.2bn pot. However, the Local Government Association (LGA) estimates councils across the country will need an extra £6bn to get through this financial year.

The local government minister Simon Clarke told the Commons on Monday that councils should not resort to austerity measures.

Local authorities, however, unclear about how they will make up funding shortfalls, are threatening cuts. London mayor, Sadiq Khan, today warned he was ‘left with no choice’ but to make ‘significant cuts.’ Luton Borough Council is also cutting 365 jobs.

‘Over the last 10 years the council has managed to sensibly reduce spending in line with the budget cuts we have faced,’ said the leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake.

‘Working with all our partners and the trade unions we were able to reduce the impact of cuts on the city, but the financial challenge posed by coronavirus is on a different scale altogether.

‘We are therefore calling on the Government for more financial support or clarity on flexible options which may be available to help us find solutions so we can continue to support and protect the most vulnerable members of our communities – who rely on our services now more than ever.

‘The situation is clearly very serious. I hope the Government hears us and acts so the council can protect services for the people of Leeds.’

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