Hampshire County Council Gets £7.4 Million less than expected from Government

A Hampshire leader is calling on the government to provide civic chiefs with more money to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

Councillor Keith Mans, leader of Hampshire County Council, said that while the recently announced £8.8m from central government is welcomed news,  it “falls short of offering a sustainable solution to the major financial crisis”.

The government said it has provided unprecedented support to councils during the pandemic.

But the county council in Hampshire will need at least an extra £33m to be viable in the future, according to Councillor Mans.

It comes as last month it was revealed that the authority is facing a £210m shortfall by 2023 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week the government confirmed that the authority will receive £8.8m to provide vital services this winter.

But Councillor Mans said this is not what civic chiefs expected.

He said: “Government’s funding calculation has impacted county councils extremely badly this time round. We expected to receive around £15.2 million in this tranche of funding, but will now only be awarded just over half that amount.”

Cllr Mans said the authority can manage the £83m cost of Covid-19 this year, thanks to its “strong financial position before the pandemic”.

But he added: “However, in the medium term, the prognosis is not good. With growing demand for social care for vulnerable children and adults, coupled with the added burden of Covid-19, the costs mount to around £210 million over the next three years – and at least £33 million more is needed from Government in order for the County Council to remain financially viable in the future.”

Alan Dowden, county councillor for Baddesley, said Hampshire MPs should fight for better resources for the county.

“It’s vital that Hampshire County Council receives more money from the government otherwise all services are going to suffer,” he added.

A  spokesperson for the ministry of housing, communities and local government said: “Hampshire County Council has received £70 million in non-ringfenced emergency funding across all four tranches. Additionally, their core spending power increased by over £55 million in 2020/21 even before emergency funding was announced.

“We recognise that there will be individual councils with unique circumstances, and we encourage them to approach MHCLG to discuss their future financial position. We will continue to work closely with Hampshire County Council as they support their community through the pandemic.”