North Norfolk ‘suffering really badly’, says councillor, as Covid-19 financial losses mount
PUBLISHED: 12:36 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:02 27 May 2020
A councillor has warned that the authority is “suffering really badly” due to the financial losses of the coronavirus outbreak.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) held a meeting of its scrutiny meeting - the committee responsible for oversight of the council’s actions - this morning (Wednesday, May 27).
And councillors discussed the financial issues facing the district, including its loss of income during the pandemic, and the £1m deficit projected by the council.
Gerard Mancini-Boyle, (Cons) said: “We are suffering really badly. We’re losing 40pc of our income - we should be getting our MPs to lobby government.”
Mr Mancini-Boyle, councillor for Hoveton and Tunstead, stressed that the council had previously been in a position to help other struggling authorities.
He added: “Whether the government like it or not, they can’t afford for us to fail.
“They need to be giving us more money to supplement the money we’re losing.”
And council leader Sarah Butikofer (Lib Dem) said: “We are asking our MPs to lobby central government for funds to fill in the gaps that we are trying to fill creatively ourselves.”
Duncan Ellis, head of finance, told the committee the council would need to “keep banging the drum” for further support from central government.
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He said: “We are projecting a deficit of £2m and we have received £1.1m from government, leaving us with a shortfall.
“Lobbying by members of central government is critical.
“There is a huge issue nationally in terms of districts and county councils and we need to keep banging that drum.
“The support we’ve had to date has been very helpful but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
“This is just going to increase pressures.”
And Mr Ellis added that the council was losing money, and said: “If our car parks continue to be closed until July, that’s £1m of income lost.
“The government might give us funding to prop up this year’s budget but I can’t see us getting money the year after or the year after that.
“We’re looking at a net deficit in the region of a million pounds.
“It’s a significant issue.”
And Eric Seward, finance cabinet member, who previously said the council was “not in the business” of making cuts, added: “It’s a case of holding our nerve.”
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