A new Government funding package to help councils address coronavirus pressures and cover lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic has been welcomed by Island MP Bob Seely.
The package – which includes a £500 million funding pot – is designed to help offset financial pressures faced by councils as a result of emergency spending through the pandemic.
The Government said the money had not been ringfenced – meaning councils would be allowed to decide how the money was spent.
In addition, the Government said it would help to reimburse lost income during the pandemic and boost cash flow by covering 75p in every pound lost in income (where losses are more than 5% of a council’s planned income from sales, fees and charges).
Councils would also be able spread their tax deficits over 3 years rather than the usual one.
Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said:
“Councils are playing a huge part in supporting their communities during this pandemic. From supporting the most vulnerable and keeping vital services running to operating local track and trace, council workers have been at the forefront of this great national effort and are the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”
The Government said any council that is faced with an unmanageable pressure, or is concerned about their future financial position beyond the support provided, should contact Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Last month the Island’s MP and Isle of Wight Council Leader Cllr Stewart wrote to Local Government Minister, Simon Clarke, to seek further Government support for the Isle of Wight.
“I welcome this package of support coming from the Government. Our council is already under extreme financial pressure so this support will help them to catch their breath.
“I will be talking to the council about my thoughts on this. I would like to see the council not only investing the money in keeping people safe and supported but also looking at ways they can help businesses who are struggling and invest in opportunities that can help to safeguard jobs.
“I want to ensure ministers understand our position here before the next Spending Review, which will determine the level of support councils need moving forward.
“I am working with the IW Council to push ministers for more support here. I have another meeting with Simon Clarke next week and I will continue to ensure our voices are heard.”
Further details on the allocations of the funding will be made in due course.