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£40million cost of council’s Covid-19 response

Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Exterior of City Hall at night

LEICESTER City Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic will cost the authority over £40m, the Overview Select Committee will be advised in a report next week.

The report is the first one to review all the council’s spending this year, which has been dominated by the effects of the pandemic and lockdown.

The city council is expecting around £34m of Government funding, but there is concern that its total costs could rise if case numbers keep growing.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I am very pleased with the way our staff have responded to the pandemic, and helped protect vulnerable people and businesses whilst keeping services running.

“At the same time this has come at a cost, and Government grant falls some way short of meeting our losses.”

Areas extra of spending include include:

  • £600,000 spent on IT to enable staff to work from home.
  • £11.6million losses in planning, development and transport, chiefly through reductions in parking income and planning fees.
  • Losses of £4.3million in tourism and culture, mainly due to the closure of De Montfort Hall and reductions in market rents.
  • £1.8m additional spending in neighbourhood services.
  • Additional costs of around £4.7million to help care providers in adult social care.
  • Sports services saw additional costs of £3.2million, due to the closure of council-run leisure centres.
  • £1.1million extra spending on delivering food to vulnerable people across the city.

Leicester City Council’s director of finance, Alison Greenhill, added: “The pandemic is far from over, and it will be some time before we get a final picture. 

“Much depends on how quickly we emerge from lockdown, and the speed of economic recovery. 

“We do keep reserves in case of the unexpected, so we are not considering immediate cuts to services to balance the books.”

The council has also received £79m from the Government to administer business support grants, and £48m for additional rate reliefs.

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