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Craven District Council

Craven District Council could face losses of up to £4million this year due to the pandemic

Craven District Council could face losses of between £2million and £4million this financial year due to the pandemic, councillors have been told.

However, it is hoped the Government will provide further support to councils across the country to prevent cuts.

The Council’s Policy Committee heard that the Council’s income had been severely affected by the lockdown.

The total cost of the services provided by Craven District Council is £22.2million, and 39% of this is normally funded by external income.

The 2020 budget assumed £6.5million would be achieved from charges, with parking and leisure services generating over £3million of this. Both income streams have been closed for three months, and Craven Leisure remains shut.

Trade waste charges have been deferred for three months and other income streams have been affected to varying degrees. There may also be a reduction in council tax collection, and the council has also incurred additional costs related to the pandemic.  

So far the Council has received two support payments from the Government, of £26,000 and £565,000.

However, Councillor Richard Foster, Council Leader, said he was optimistic that the Government would come forward with further funding.

““They’re not ignoring us, and our pleas that this has cost us a lot of money, and we do need further support in some way, shape or form,” he said.

“I think there is a funding package on its way from Government and when you look at these figures we do need something. Luckily Craven is financially not in too bad a position in terms of reserves etc.

“Some authorities don’t have the luxury of what Craven’s amassed over the last few years. It’s all earmarked, it’s all supposed to be going into schemes that will be for the good of Craven, but if we’ve got to pull back on some of those and maybe delay them, then we’ll have that to do, in order to make sure we get the council through this.

“Fingers crossed, we can do both; we can get a bit more investment from the Government and get on and deliver those schemes, because I think a lot of them are going to be vital for the regeneration of the district.”

The Council is not proposing to make any service cuts at this stage.

In the shorter term, actions to limit the immediate shortfall are being taken, including a review of all revenue budgets to identify any further savings and non-essential expenditure that can be deferred.

The Council’s reserves will be reviewed along with the capital plan, to assess viability of schemes, deliverability and funding sources. A revised Medium Term Financial Plan will be developed.