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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

MPs urged to highlight growing budget pressures

A new report shows that coronavirus is creating a £28m budget gap

A pound coin on a £5 note

Leicestershire County Council is calling on local MPs to help secure its financial stability as the coronavirus pandemic ratchets up the pressure on the authority’s budget.

Published today, a new report shows that without extra Government funding, the health crisis will lead to a £28m gap this year. On top of extra adult social costs, the council is facing reduced commercial income, reduced council tax and higher waste disposal, IT and construction costs.

The financial impact of coronavirus has had an immediate shock to our finances. Whilst extra support from the Government is obviously welcome, it falls far short of what is necessary to stabilise our finances and allow us to recover from coronavirus and continue support for valued services. I have written a briefing for our MPs so they fully understand the position of the county council.

Further measures are needed to ensure the stability of local authorities including a commitment to underwrite Council Tax and Business Rates income, a consistent approach to adult social care and a coherent plan for funding special educational needs and disability support.

Despite being the lowest funded county council, we went into this crisis in reasonable financial shape. That is not the case for many local authorities. The crisis offers an opportunity to put the whole of local government on a much sounder financial footing and to recognise that much of the structure of local government is unsustainable. These issues impact our financial viability and ability to deliver front line services – and we’re calling on our MPs to raise them at Westminster.

The report will be discussed by the council’s cabinet tomorrow (Friday) – watch the meeting online 

The council has received £28m in extra Government grant - this has helped to reduce the expected impact this year from an estimated £56m to £28m.

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