Government confirms councils £500 million allocations

Allocations have been confirmed for individual councils in England to help deliver essential services for residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the funding will help councils in England continue to deliver crucial frontline services, support those most in need and meet new spending pressures so they can deliver for residents.

The £500 million figure, which brings support for pressures they are facing to £4.3 billion, will be distributed to councils based on population and levels of deprivation, and how the costs of delivery of services varies across the country. It forms part of a comprehensive package of government support to help councils respond to the pandemic, including an unprecedented new scheme to help councils recover lost income, including from car parks and museums, which have been shut during the lockdown.

Of the £4.3 billion, £3.7 billion is un-ringfenced so councils also have the flexibility to choose how to use it in their areas and £600 million was to support social care providers.

Jenrick said: “Councils are playing a vital role in our national fight against coronavirus, providing a lifeline for so many and supporting communities at a time when they need it most. That’s why we are giving them an extra £500 million – taking our total additional funding provided to £4.3 billion – and today I am setting out how this will be allocated to councils fairly based on the pressures they have told us they are facing. This comes on top of the co-payment scheme announced last week that will compensate councils for irrecoverable income losses from sales, fees and charges.”

Carl Les, County Councils Network spokesperson for finance, said: “The extra £500 million provided by the government to councils is a vital piece of support that will help meet the additional costs of coronavirus being borne by county authorities. The latest Delta returns showed that our member councils account for 39 per cent of cost pressures facing the sector this year. Across the three tranches of funding counties have received 36 per cent of the total, with the last two announcements being slightly below what we hoped for.
 
“While any additional funding is very welcome, county authorities will still have a gap between their estimated cost pressures for the remainder of this year compared to the grants they have received so far. In particular, there will be major additional costs coming further down the line in adult social care, children’s services, and school transport so further funding will be needed.
 
“We await the publication of the detail for the government’s compensation scheme for lost income in council fees and charges. However it is crucial the government brings forward an ‘income guarantee’  for lost council tax and business rate income, which pose the largest financial risk to councils over the coming period. We are confident that the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick is monitoring the situation closely and we are grateful to him for listening to our concerns.”