Saturday, December 5, 2020
formerly Meon Valley Local News Team


Council Fears Coronavirus Will Cost It £210 Million And Have “Catastrophic Effect” On Residents

By Maria Zaccaro , Local Democracy Reporting Service in News on September 22, 2020

CIVIC chiefs fear the pandemic could have a “catastrophic effect” on residents as figures revealed that the crisis could cost a Hampshire council more than £200m.

Hampshire County Council is expected to foot a £210m coronavirus bill by 2023.
The figure includes the total of predicted costs, losses and pressures.

According to the authority, £102m is currently unfunded and a further £80m will need to be saved by April 2023.

The government said it has provided councils with “unprecedented” support.

But civic chiefs said the county council needs “at least £52m” from the government in order to remain financially viable in the future.

The news comes as last week documents revealed that the pandemic is set to cost Southampton City Council £45m in the 2020/21 financial year.

When asked whether jobs and services would be at risk, the county council said it is “far too early to speculate”.

The authority said in the current financial year alone the pandemic is set to cost the council £160m – with around £83m of that unfunded.

The financial impact of Covid-19 will be discussed by cabinet members next Tuesday.

But concerns have been raised.
Alan Dowden, county councillor for Baddesley,  said: “This will have a catastrophic effect on services and they will have to balance the budget which will mean cut services.

“When they come to do their budget then clearly if they don’t have the money it means even further costs are going to come.”

The county council said it needs to save £80m by 2023 to meet rising demand in services such as social care for vulnerable children and adults.

Cllr Keith Mans, county council leader, said the authority was “in a strong financial position” when the coronavirus hit and it can “weather the storm this year”.

But he added: “However, moving into the medium term, the situation worsens as we also take stock of growing demand in adult social care which we expect to increase further as a result of the pandemic, further lost income and council tax revenue, and the costs of responding to any subsequent coronavirus outbreaks.

“It means that our total unfunded costs and losses rise to around £210 million over the next three years – with the need for at least £52 million from Government in order to remain financially viable in the future.”

In a statement the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Hampshire County Council has received £61m in non-ringfenced emergency funding.

“Additionally, their core spending power increased by £55m in 2020/21 even before emergency funding was announced.We will continue to work closely with councils.”

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