Local Government Finance: Coronavirus

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer (b) District Councils’ Network on the Government’s plan to tackle the financial challenges faced by (i) borough and (ii) district local authorities.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

On 2 July the Secretary of State announced a further £500 million in unringfenced grant funding for councils to meet pressures they are facing in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our unprecedented package includes £4.3 billion for councils’ spending pressures, comprising £3.7 billion of unringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund, bringing the total amount of additional support for councils, businesses and local communities to almost £28 billion.

The Government is also meeting 75p in the pound of lost income such as parking fees and museum entry charges, where that loss of income is more than a council could have been expected to plan for. For many councils, this will be a significant portion of the income lost as result of the pandemic, particularly where these income streams make up a disproportionate portion of income relative to the size of the authority.

I regularly speak to the District Councils’ Network and individual councils. I can offer the reassurance that our aim is that all councils will be funded for their Covid-19 pressures and placed on a stable financial footing.

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