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Gloucestershire Business News

Council tallies up cost of coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic looks likely to cost Cotswold District Council more than £1million.

Forecasted costs from the pandemic for 2020-21 is £977,000 while the council is expecting an income of £2.81million - £1.68million of which came from lost car parking charges.

With an expected £2.77million from the Government to cover pandemic costs, that leaves a funding gap of £1.02million.

Council leader Councillor Joe Harris said: "I am exceptionally proud of the way the council and its staff have responded to the pandemic.

"Within a couple of days, almost all of our staff were working from home, not just carrying on with their jobs but busier than ever, setting up support for our most vulnerable residents, making sure homeless people had somewhere to stay and ensuring that local businesses received support grants."

He continued: "This has come at a cost to the council and there is a gap of around a million pounds between government support and the council's expenses.

"The Government has been very generous with kind words about how local councils have stepped up during the pandemic.

"Now they must ensure we are fully compensated for its impact on our finances."

Councillor Richard Morgan, leader of the opposition Conservative group, blamed the ruling Lib Dems for wasting money during the lockdown.

He said: "During the lockdown period the Cotswold Lib Dems restructured management team at a cost of £330,000, they withdrew from Waterloo car park redevelopment at a cost of £500,000 and they decided to give a large profitable private company almost £300,000 to reopen our leisure centres as opposed to offering a loan which many other district councils negotiated.

"These three decisions alone were all made during the COVID-19 pandemic and they total more than this supposed shortfall."

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