Coronavirus: £5bn needed to stop local cuts say county councils

English councils have called on the government to provide a £5bn "income guarantee" to prevent local authorities from having to cut services as the coronavirus hits finances

The County Councils Network has warned councils could lose £2.4bn as income from tax and business rates fall. The group said councils would have "no choice" but to suspend non-essential expenditure and cut services.

The government says it has provided "an unprecedented £3.2bn" to councils. A spokesman said it was giving councils "the resources that they need to tackle the immediate pressures they have told us they're facing". "This is on top of English councils' core spending power rising by over £2.9 billion this financial year and a further £600 million to help reduce the infection rate in care homes," he added.

Last month the Local Government Association said the income base was "collapsing" for councils, with leisure centres shut, public transport cut and parking fees not coming in.

The CCN warns that councils may have to suspend non-essential expenditure and implement cutbacks to services "including those aimed at fighting the spread of coronavirus". To prevent this happening, the CCN says the government should make £5bn available to compensate councils for their lost income, pointing out the government wrote off the NHS' £13bn debt following the outbreak of the virus.

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The BBC - Coronavirus: £5bn needed to stop local cuts say county councils


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