Council facing £2.5m coronavirus shortfall
By Sarah Wood | 3rd June 2020
Cotswold District Council says it is facing a shortfall of £2.5 million, due to additional costs and loss of income caused by the coronavirus pandemic - unless it can secure further government funding.
In a report to Cabinet, the council said it has already lost £235,000 in parking income alone, a figure it expects to rise to £1.765 million for the full year 20/21.
Overall losses for the year are predicted to be £2.823 million. Figures across the board - from leisure income to garden waste - show a significant loss in the year to date and assume a gradual recovery between June and December 2020.
Council spending is also up - in accommodation and support for homeless people, waste and recycling, and leisure and cultural services. Additional expenditure as a result of COVID-19 is predicted to total £548,000 for the year.
In April 2020, council tax collection rates were down by 1.2% compared to April 2019, equivalent to £76,000 in cash, with further reductions likely in May and June. The council also expects an increase in people of working age applying for Local Council Tax Support, as more people are made redundant during the crisis.
So far the council has received two tranches of additional funding from the government - £33,080 in March and £908,807 in April, which have gone some way toward off-setting the additional costs. But without further funding, the council predicts it will be £2.5 million in the red.
Cllr Mike Evemy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: "Like many, if not all, district councils, our finances have been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The forecast shortfall of £2.5million in our 2020/21 budget takes into account the grants from the government. The Liberal Democrat administration is acting prudently - we re-introduced parking charges on 1 June - to reduce this figure.
"Over the summer, as we see how the situation develops, we will be working on a revised budget for 2020/21 and an updated medium term financial strategy for the council to consider and approve in September."
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