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Gloucestershire Business News

Councils say £500m help not enough

The Government has announced a £500million coronavirus cash injection for councils in England - but councils say it is not enough.

The package to help cover the cost of dealing with the pandemic was announced alongside a scheme to help compensate councils for reduced income from car parking and attractions while deferring lost Council Tax and business rates payments.

The £500million will be shared among 343 councils in England alongside £30million to the Welsh government, £15million to the Scottish Government and £15million to the Northern Ireland executive.

But the body which represents councils in England and Wales said it still left them with a £1.2billion funding gap for the year.

Local Government Association chairman James Jamieson said: "We reiterate our call to government to meet all extra cost pressures and income losses from fees and charges and other sources, including commercial activity, in full if councils are to avoid having to make tough decisions on in-year cuts to services to meet their legal duty to set a balanced budget this year,"

The income loss compensation scheme t will refund councils at the rate of 75p in the pound where they have lost more than five per cent of expected incomes.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "Councils are playing a huge part in supporting their communities during this pandemic.

"From supporting the most vulnerable and keeping vital services running to operating local track and trace, council workers have been at the forefront of this great national effort and are the unsung heroes of this pandemic."

He continued: "I am providing a further package of support that takes our support for councils during this pandemic to £4.3billion to help meet the immediate pressures councils are facing.

"I know that the loss of revenue from car parks and leisure centres has created huge difficulties, so I am introducing a new scheme to help cover these losses."

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