Cheshire East Council is joining other local authorities in pressing the government for significant additional funding to meet the rising costs of combatting Covid-19.
It comes as the council revealed that the impact of coronavirus could already be £60m.
Cheshire East continues to lead local efforts to beat the pandemic but its resources are being stretched to the maximum.
Like many councils, Cheshire East continues to face increased costs and demand pressures at the same time as seeing a huge drop in income. This is unsustainable.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has welcomed the extra funding that councils have received from central government to date but said local authorities will need ‘up to four times’ the funding they have been allocated so far. The County Councils Network (CCN), which includes Cheshire East, is also seeking greatly increased financial support from the government.
Councillor Amanda Stott, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “The priority of this council is to keep the public and our staff safe. But this has come at a significant financial cost that goes far beyond additional funding provided by central government to date.
“Covid-19 leaves Cheshire East already facing financial pressures of £60m. And we are not alone. All councils face finding many millions of pounds due to the soaring costs of dealing with the pandemic, as well as huge falls in council income streams.
“Throughout the lockdown, Cheshire East has been spending millions extra on providing adult and children social care, providing PPE and housing rough sleepers. All services are affected, including increased costs of running services such as highways and waste, due to the need for social distancing and new health precautions. On top of this, the council is losing significant amounts in lost revenues from council tax, business rates, parking income and leisure/culture fees.
“In the case of kerbside household bin collections, for example, the council has kept these operating as normal. However, this has come at additional cost due to the need to maintain social distancing, train redeployed staff to replace those unable to work due to Covid-19 and provision of personal protection equipment for our collection teams – such as disposable gloves and hand sanitiser.
“Although the government has provided extra funding to combat coronavirus, this has not been enough. The government has given comprehensive protection to the health service and businesses and we want to work with government to deliver the same for councils.
“Cheshire East, alongside the LGA and CCN, is pressing for significant additional financial support from the government to enable councils to fund the full additional costs of combatting the pandemic and keeping people safe.
“After all, it is local councils, such as Cheshire East, which are providing the vital local services that are supporting communities through this crisis and the national effort to beat this deadly disease.”