Government must fund Councils' Covid costs

Cash (Telegraph)Covid-related costs and loss of income have meant huge financial pressures for EVERY council in the country.

Chelmsford City Council has lost £16.5 million from normal income in 2020-21 and was facing a projected shortfall of £7.55 million for 2021-22. The Government promised last April to provide full support but has in fact left the Council £5 million short. (Full budget briefing.)

Therefore Chelmsford Council is forced to cut costs and also find new sources of income to balance the books.

During this pandemic, Chelmsford Council has stepped up in many ways. Leisure staff were redeployed to support shielding people; the Council has housed over 250 homeless families and accommodated over 30 rough sleepers, as well as continuing to provide other key services, such as bin collection and road sweeping. At the same time, the normal income (from car parks, leisure, theatres, property and markets) that pays for these services has vanished.

We the undersigned say that the Government needs to fully-fund Councils for their lost income. They should stand by the promise, when the Minister for Local Government instructed council leaders to "do whatever is needed and we will support you".

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