North Ayrshire Council facing £15m funding shortfall due to coronavirus

North Ayrshire Council has outlined the “significant gap” in its funding following the COVID-19 pandemic with infrastructure and housing among the areas to be impacted.

North Ayrshire Council facing £15m funding shortfall due to coronavirus

Council leader Joe Cullinane

The net financial impact of the pandemic lockdown on the local authority is currently expected to be approximately £15.475 million for the financial year 2020/21.

The overall figure includes a £2.2m impact on the Capital Fund, which pays for major infrastructure projects. The impact on the Housing Revenue Account, which deals with the council housing stock and house building programme, is projected to be approximately £3.7m.

The council has been monitoring its financial position to help mitigate the impact while continuing to provide essential services and a report due to go before cabinet tomorrow will lay out the projected financial impact of COVID-19 as well as the measures taken so far to minimise the impact.

North Ayrshire Council leader and cabinet member for Community Wealth Building, Joe Cullinane, said: “COVID-19 has had a major financial impact across the world and councils aren’t immune to that.

“I am proud of the council’s response to the pandemic, whether that be the support we have given families and vulnerable residents to access food, the key worker childcare provision, the continuation of our household waste collection throughout lockdown and indeed to all those carers who have cared for, and kept safe, residents. I will be forever indebted to every member of staff who has helped support citizens through COVID-19.

“The financial reality is that there is a cost attached to that support and the lockdown caused a significant drop in our income. Despite receiving some additional funding, we are still facing a major funding gap.

“So, we will continue to lobby the UK and Scottish Government to deliver the financial support which local government so badly needs.”

Included in the projected net cost for 2020/21 is £9.6m from the General Revenue Account – which pays for day-to-day council services. This includes lost income to the council and the costs of services such as food provision and support to families of children eligible for free school meals; workforce, building and PPE costs; additional costs for education and early years and mitigating the financial impact on KA Leisure.

In order to address the projected cost impact for 2020/21, a Finance Recovery Plan has been developed which aims to protect jobs and services as well as mitigating any impact on the 2021/22 Budget.

On Tuesday, cabinet will also consider the COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Renewal Approach which will be targeted towards building an inclusive economy that works for everyone in North Ayrshire will include a specific focus on areas such as Community Wealth Building and climate change.

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