Leader of Leeds City Council calls for urgent government support as Covid-19 costs near £200million and threaten services

Financial cost of coronavirus shown in new reports

The Leader of Leeds City Council has called for urgent government support as the costs of coronavirus in the city approach £200million and threaten big cuts to services.

The council released a series of reports today outlining its perilous financial position. The position has been significantly impacted by the costs of Covid-19, which have risen from £164.7m last month to now stand at £197.6m.

Leeds has received government funding of £43.7m towards those costs from a pot of £3.2billion, but the Local Government Association last month estimated a further £6billion would be needed to support councils across the country in this financial year alone.

The reports will be discussed by the council’s executive board at its meeting to be held online from 1pm on Wednesday 24 June.

Commenting on the reports, the Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

“The reports published today show the massive impact coronavirus has had on our city, something which no-one could plan for and which has left us facing a financial challenge of unprecedented proportions.

“Without urgent government support, there is a very real threat of big cuts to council services that many people take for granted.  

“Over the last 10 years the council has managed to sensibly reduce spending in line with the budget cuts we have faced. Working with all our partners and the trade unions we were able to reduce the impact of cuts on the city, but the financial challenge posed by coronavirus is on a different scale altogether.

“We are therefore calling on the government for more financial support or clarity on flexible options which may be available to help us find solutions so we can continue to support and protect the most vulnerable members of our communities – who rely on our services now more than ever.

“The situation is clearly very serious. I hope the government hears us and acts so the council can protect services for the people of Leeds.”

To see the financial reports published today go to the executive board meeting agenda at: https://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=102&MId=9946

Notes to editors:

The government funding of £43.7m received so far includes £2.591m in the 2019/20 financial year.

ENDS

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