Posted: Tue 16th Jun 2020

Updated: Tue 16th Jun

Flintshire Council left £3.6m out of pocket due to loss of income during coronavirus pandemic

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Flintshire Council has been left out of pocket to the tune of £3.6m due to the loss of income during the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure was revealed by the local authority’s chief executive, who said revenue had been impacted by the introduction of lockdown measures in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The amount includes money lost from ticket sales at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, which recently estimated it could stand to miss out on as much as £2m as a result of being forced to close.

Colin Everett said the council was preparing a claim to recover the money from the Welsh Government.

However, he suggested the amount put aside by ministers to date might not be enough to bridge the losses incurred by the 22 local authorities across Wales.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: “Welsh Government has set aside £78m in good faith and we are really appreciative of that.

“Councils have been putting together their draft claims and across all 22 they will without doubt exceed that.

“Estimates are that it might be sufficient for about 60 per cent if our claims are all treated equally.

“Welsh Government are looking about whether they can top that up and extend it.

“Our estimate for that period is in the £3.6m region, including the theatre and Aura (leisure services company), which are significantly reliant on income.”

The council has set aside a ringfenced sum of £3m to address the emergency situation.

A financial report discussed by cabinet members today shows the pandemic has also allowed spending to be reduced in some areas.

Despite the loss of income, Mr Everett said the authority was currently in a healthy cashflow position.

He said: “Cashflow hasn’t been an issue for us because we’re at the beginning of the year and receive quite substantial government grant payments for the whole year at the beginning.

“Welsh Government have actually been very good at bringing other payments forward so while we’re going through these claims, we don’t end up with a cash flow problem.

“We haven’t had to resort to any significant borrowing like some public bodies.”

He also held out praise for HMRC for quickly processing the council’s furlough payment applications.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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