Lancashire's councils react to latest government grant to cover Covid costs
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The region will receive a total of £14m out of a £500m pot announced earlier this month.
Several of the county’s council leaders have previously called for full reimbursement of all their Covid-related costs, with some expressing concern that the government might only be prepared to cover extra expenditure incurred as a result of the pandemic – for which Lancashire as a whole has already been handed over £87m from Whitehall.
However, a new scheme is also being introduced under which three quarters of “relevant losses” will attract compensation from the government, over and above a five percent threshold which councils will have to absorb themselves.
At district council level, cash usually generated from leisure centres and car parking has collapsed during lockdown. Meanwhile, it is feared that business rates and council tax income – which is also shared with County Hall – will be dented as the hardship caused to households and businesses by Covid-19 becomes clearer.
Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver repeated his call for the government to meet all of the costs brought about by coronavirus – noting that his authority’s £8.2m share of the latest fund would still leave the council around £35m short of its total estimated Covid bill of £100m.
“It’s still not enough. I’ve written to government asking them to stand by the undertaking that they have given – and repeated on many occasions – that they will refund local authorities for all the extra expenditure as a result of Covid,” County Cllr Driver said.
DIVIDING UP LANCASHIRE’S COVID CASH
The list below shows the amount each council is set to receive in the latest round of government funding, with the figure in brackets giving the total of all Covid-related grants distributed to local authorities since March.
BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN – £1.6m (£10.9m)
BLACKPOOL – £1.7m (£11.6m)
BURNLEY – £229K (£1.1m)
CHORLEY – £177K (£1.4m)
FYLDE – £125K (£962K0
HYNDBURN – £188K (£1.05m)
LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL – £8.2m (£65m)
LANCASTER – £271K (£1.8m)
PENDLE – £201K (£1.1m)
PRESTON – £316K – (£1.8m)
RIBBLE VALLEY – £77K (703K)
ROSSENDALE – £132K (881K)
SOUTH RIBBLE – £160K (£1.3m)
WEST LANCASHIRE – £190K (£1.3m)