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Rutland County Council says Government funding will 'not cover the full financial impact' of coronavirus




Rutland County Council says money received from the Government will "not cover the full financial impact" of coronavirus.

It comes as new analysis revealed that residents in the county have received less per person than the average council in the two rounds of Government funding, which have totalled more than £3.2bn.

Last week, the Government announced an additional £1.6bn funding package to help local councils respond to pressures as a result of coronavirus - in addition to a £1.6bn package given in March.

Gordon Brown, Rutland County Council cabinet member for benefits (16083783)
Gordon Brown, Rutland County Council cabinet member for benefits (16083783)

But the amount each council received has been disproportionate, ranging from £43 to £73 per person depending on the local authority.

Rutland received £864,497 in the first round of funding and £1,970,373 in the second round of funding. That is equivalent to £49.64 per person for the population of 39,697.

Nationally, total support across both tranches works out at about £57 per person when district and county councils are combined, according to analysis by the BBC, meaning Rutland is below average.

Rutland County Council (24995426)
Rutland County Council (24995426)

Comparatively Lincolnshire received £57.56 per resident. The council with the most money was Knowsley, which received £72.84 per resident. Wokingham was the worst off, according to the figures compiled by the BBC, with the council receiving the equivalent of £43.38 per resident.

Rutland County Council's cabinet member for finance Gordon Brown (Con) said the council was doing all it could to support people, while losing vital income streams.

"All councils are incurring extra costs because of Covid-19. We are doing everything we can to support residents, particularly through our social care services, which are responding to a big increase in demand. At the same time, we are also losing income – money that would normally go back into running local services.

Rutland County Council (7058608)
Rutland County Council (7058608)

"Our number one priority is to provide care and support for residents. We have to keep a close eye on our financial position so that we can continue to do this well into the future. We are grateful for the funding received from government, as it will undoubtedly help.

"However, based on our current forecasts, the sums of money received so far will not cover the full financial impact of the virus.

"Irrespective of funding received to date, we will do all we can to support Rutland residents and will continue to lobby government to ensure we are not disadvantaged by the cost of Covid-19, whatever it may be."

The second round of Government funding is expected to arrive in council bank accounts in May.

David Phillips from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said: “District councils are particularly reliant on the income they can receive from fees and charges for services, such as parking or leisure, and that makes them much more exposed to the effects of the lockdown.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association added: “Government will need to provide ongoing and consistent funding to meet all the extra costs local authorities are facing due to the additional demands created by Covid-19, as well as delivering ‘business as usual’ services.”

And Coun John Fuller OBE, chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said: “We are pleased that government has listened to districts and acted on our call for vital extra funding so that we can continue to fight coronavirus, reduce homelessness, protect the vulnerable and collect waste.

“This shows government recognises the incredible work of districts in supporting every family and business and the pivotal role they can play combating this virus and leading the local recovery in every street.

“Taken together, the short-term funding announced last week along with the certainty over retained business rates next year worth nearly £300m could mean a very welcome half a billion pounds of funding certainty for district councils on the front line over two years delivering those final mile services that allow us to lead our residents and businesses to recovery.

“We know that there are much bigger financial pressures facing the whole country right now, and your local district council will continue to play their part working as part of a complete local government system to make sure our local services build better lives and stronger economies.

“Now is the time for the whole of local government to come together to drive the economy and help people get through this crisis.”

Fire authorities and police and fire commissioners have been excluded from the analysis, but between them these 30 authorities have received £35m from the two rounds.

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