COUNCILS across Devon have welcomed the fourth tranche of funding they have been awarded by the Government, but have warned it won’t cover all their predicted losses, and say they still have no idea what level of funding they will get next year.
An extra £10m from the government has been given to councils in Devon, with the intention that the money will help councils cover coronavirus-related costs and ensure they have the resources they need to keep providing vital services over the winter.
But while council chiefs across the county have welcomed the additional boost to their coffers, concerns and fears have been raised about how they can be expected to set a budget for 2021/22 when there is still no indications as to when the government will announce how much money they will be getting.
Local authorities in Devon have now received £130m in extra government support since the start of the pandemic, with £10.4m given in the latest tranche, but both East Devon District Council and South Hams District Council were only given £100,000 – the minimum amount that any council has been given.
Teignbridge District Council has received £264,280, but said that they will need to assess the impact of further restrictions which could be introduced over the winter as to how that will affect their operations and anticipated budgetary projections.
A council spokesman added: ‘We welcome the additional funding announced yesterday which amounts to £264,280 for Teignbridge.
‘The council’s latest financial position will be reported to the Executive on November 3. We anticipate that the four tranches of government funding received this year, savings already identified and the government’s income compensation scheme will cover our anticipated deficit other than for any shortfalls in council tax and business rates which can be financed over the next three years.
‘As the number of coronavirus cases increases, we will need to assess the impact that any further restrictions which could be introduced over the winter will have on our operations and anticipated budgetary projections.’
Local authorities in Devon have now received £130m in extra government support since the start of the pandemic.
The larger authorities have been given the most – £67m for Devon County Council, £31m for Plymouth City Council and £19m for Torbay Council.
Councils can also claim funding through a compensation scheme for lost income from sales, fees and charges, while further support will be made available to areas placed under Tier 3 restrictions.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘Since the start of the pandemic, we have backed local councils with the funding they need to support their communities, protect vital services and recover lost income.
‘This extra £1b funding will ensure councils have the resources they need over the winter and continue to play an essential role on the front line of our response to the virus, while protecting the most vulnerable and supporting local businesses.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘It’s vital that we keep ourselves fighting fit through the winter months and local authority leisure centres are crucial to this.
‘This £100million fund will help keep leisure centres across the country open. I urge leisure centres to bid for the money and people to make the most of these precious local facilities.’