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Understanding the financial impact of Coronavirus

Published Friday 4 September, 2020
Last updated on Friday 18 September, 2020

Swale Borough Council’s cabinet will receive an update on the financial impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) next week.

The second virtual cabinet meeting will take place on Wednesday, 3 June, and members will get a report on the pandemic’s effect on the council’s budget and how the impact is being managed.

The current projected shortfall is £4.1 million out of an £18 million revenue budget. This is made up of increased costs in areas such as homelessness and leisure centres, and falling income from areas such as car parks, council tax, and business rates.

Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of the council and cabinet member for finance at the council, said:

“The scale of the challenge we are now facing is like nothing we have seen before.

“In spite of challenges I believe we can manage but that will mean tight fiscal discipline from the council if we are to avoid severe implications for residents.

“Our focus has been, and will remain, to ensure the ongoing financial viability of the council so we can continue to provide the core services people rely on and deliver our priorities.

“Thanks to a concerted effort among district councils across the country, the government increased the funding available to us from £76,000 in the first round, to £1.5 million in the second.

“This helps us get some way towards closing the gap, and we have identified a further £2 million of reserves that can be freed up without impacting on our core services or priorities.

“This still leaves a shortfall, and we cannot rely on the use of reserves in the long term, so we are will be restricting our spending to our core, largely statutory, services and our priorities.”

The report also provides cabinet with an update on financial measures in place to support the local community during the pandemic.

These include the business rates grant schemes which has to date paid out almost £25 million to 2,111 local firms, and the council tax support schemes which has reduced the council tax bills of 5,400 local people on low incomes by £150 each.

The virtual cabinet meeting is taking place at 7pm on Wednesday, 3 June, and the agenda pack, including the reports is available here.