Brighton council loses millions to Covid but grants aid Brighton News

Town hall bosses were deprived of £ 4.5million after more people demanded tax relief from the council as their incomes plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brighton and Hove City Council deficit was the 25th largest ‘fundraising’ deficit out of 309 English councils, according to figures released by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The numbers were an improvement over the forecast of the council’s acting chief financial officer, Nigel Manvell, last December.

Mr Manvell predicted a combined £ 11million shortfall in municipal taxes and business rates as bankrupt companies left properties vacant.


At the time, he told the council’s policy and resources committee that more people were eligible for help with their municipal tax bills or were eligible for exemptions because people were losing their jobs during the pandemic.

The position was a dramatic improvement from last July when Mr Manvell warned council was facing a potential £ 49million black hole in town hall finances.

The grim picture was a cautious forecast as the costs of social care for adults skyrocketed and the council levied a bill of £ 500,000 per month for personal protective equipment (PPE). At the same time, he was losing income from parking and events.

At the end of the year, the general council budget was under-spent by £ 4.8million. This has been attributed to a mix of additional government grants and lower spending. But there was a combined £ 8million deficit in municipal taxes and business rates.

The council is expected to receive a £ 4.5million government grant for its combined fundraising shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ended in March.


Green Councilor Tom Druitt said: “The pandemic has presented many challenges for residents and council finances.

‘Like many councils, Brighton and Hove City Council received less tax than expected – mainly due to delays in completing housing developments across the city, increased numbers of people having to apply for a benefit of reduced municipal taxes, increased number of failed businesses and reduced number of start-ups and impact on collection performance due to increased number of people and businesses experiencing financial difficulties and arrears.

“The government provided one-time funding to help municipalities deal with these losses and allowed us to spread those losses over a three-year period, which gives us a bit of a break.

“Government funding made up for 75 percent of the lost income in Brighton and Hove. This of course helps, but hasn’t filled the void.

“National analysis also suggests other boards are in a similar position, with a recent public report showing that most boards are still expecting to make cuts.

“We know there are still challenges ahead and we want to keep our city on a safe footing.

“After more than 10 years of government cuts to council budgets, councils still have to work hard to maintain services to residents, especially in adult social services.

“So while the short-term covid grants have proven to be vital, we continue to push for a long-term financial settlement for boards to plan for long-term services. ”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-07 07:38:02

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