Council report reveals March financial impact of coronavirus pandemic

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

A council report has revealed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Royal Borough's budget at the end of the last financial year.

At Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Cllr David Hilton, lead member for finance, outlined the 2019-2020 financial outturn report, covering the year up until the end of March.

The report said the council had overspent its budget by £4.2m, £1.8m of which was down to ‘COVID-19 pressures incurred since March 2020’.

The coronavirus-related costs were covered by £2.7m worth of funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, leaving an overspend of just under £2.4m.

The rest of the Government funding was carried forward into 2020-21, with the council also receiving £4.1m from the Government in the new financial year to help cover the impact of COVID-19.

In April, council leader Andrew Johnson warned the outbreak was expected to cost the borough about £14million.

The borough’s income from parking revenue was also down. Part of this is unrelated to COVID-19, as it occurred before the pandemic hit.

Its parking revenue before the pandemic was down by £900,000, with the virus reducing this by a further £422,000.

The borough also lost income on leisure due to the virus – £613,000 in March alone.

By contrast, the Royal Borough made savings on waste collection and disposal, to the tune of £579,000.

There have also been savings in adult social care.

According to Cllr Stuart Caroll, lead member for adult social care and children’s services, 50 per cent of the borough’s targeted savings in children’s services has been achieved in two months.

Cllr Caroll also reported that the Royal Borough has hired more permanent social workers and therefore decreased its reliance on costly agency staff.

Leader of the council Andrew Johnson noted that the borough was ‘on the right track’, although it has been ‘blown off course’ by COVID-19.

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  • Chompy

    14:35, 03 June 2020

    I don't understand... "At Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Cllr David Hilton, lead member for finance, outlined the 2019-2020 financial outturn report, covering the year up until the end of March." Key message - reporting on finances up to end of this reporting period (i.e., end March 2020). "The report said the council had overspent its budget by £4.2m, £1.8m of which was down to ‘COVID-19 pressures incurred since March 2020’." If the 2019-2020 budget ran until the end of March 2020, how did the 1.8m incurred due to ‘COVID-19 pressures incurred since March 2020’ get accounted for in the previous financial reporting period?! Surely, if this was incurred since the end of March it get accounted for in 2020-2021? Does anyone else smell more than one rat here?

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