Bank notes

Councillors are set to discuss the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis on local authority finances.

Members of a strategic overview and scrutiny committee at Lichfield District Council will discuss the medium term financial strategy at a meeting this evening (1st September).

A report from Cllr Rob Strachan, cabinet member for finance, procurement, customer services and revenues and benefits, said the pressures of the current global crisis would be felt for some time to come.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has already had a significant impact on local council finances, the effects of which will continue through the current period of lockdown and beyond.

“The financial impact will be due to both unforeseen, but necessary, expenditure and reduced income from fees and charges, council tax and business rates.

“Councils still have a legal duty to deliver best value and so will need to ensure that public money is spent wisely in its response to the pandemic.

“However, the scale of the crisis means that budget deficits are likely to be impossible to avoid.”

Report to overview and scrutiny committee

The estimated cost of coronavirus to Lichfield District Council during the 2020/21 period is between £1.2million and £4.5million.

And Cllr Strachan said Government support would be crucial to help local authorities balance the books.

“If the government does not fully reimburse councils for their full losses, councils will find that their reserves will be depleted, or even exhausted, and ongoing savings will be required to refresh them to desired levels.

“Should the council be unable to balance its budget at the year end, any overspend will need to be met by reserves.”

Report to overview and scrutiny committee

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.