Council sets aside £3m to cover cost of dealing with coronavirus pandemic
Flintshire Council has set aside a sum of £3m to cover the cost of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Local authorities across Wales have been hit hard by the outbreak, with lockdown measures hampering a number of income streams.
The council has therefore decided to ring-fence the seven figure sum to address the emergency situation.
The move has been disclosed in a report highlighting the authority’s latest revenue budget position.
Although officials acknowledged the impact of the virus on the organisation’s purse strings, they said it had also enabled spending to be reduced in some areas.
In the document, Gary Ferguson, corporate finance manager said: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic a monitoring report has not been prepared since March which updated the position at month 10 (i.e. as at the end of January).
“The response to the emergency situation with COVID-19 was immediate, and extremely challenging, with impacts on council services.
“Reductions in projected expenditure no longer required in mid-late March, as some services were adjusted in response, also had a positive effect on the outturn position.
“An amount of £3m has been ring-fenced to address the pandemic emergency under delegated powers.
“An amount of £0.113m was released to fund relevant expenditure and income loss in March with the remaining amount carried forward to assist with any areas of expenditure and losses of income that may not be claimable from national sources.”
A separate report shows that some infrastructure projects had to be put on hold due to the virus.
They include work to resurface roads and improving buildings in the area.
As a result, some capital spending has had to be brought forward into the current financial year.
Mr Ferguson said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a significant impact on the levels of expenditure in the 2020/21 capital programme.
“This will result in a high level of carry forward requests to re-phased budget into the 2021/22 programme, following delays on scheduled works across the council.”
He added: “COVID-19 could potentially impact the award of grant funding to the council in 2020/21.
“If so, this may have an effect on the programme, where consideration may have to be given around alternative funding such as prudential borrowing or the re-phasing/withdrawal of schemes.”
The two reports will be discussed by members of the ruling Labour cabinet at a virtual meeting next week.
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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