Support package ‘will not come close’ to covering losses

The government’s latest support package for councils “will not come close” to covering the losses being incurred by authorities says Merton Council Leader.

Stephen Alambritis has warned that the latest funding package will create a £20 million hole in budgets for his council.

He says, the funding package covers less than 75% of losses incurred through freezing local fees and services.

The council leader went onto say, councils were already at ‘breaking point’ before the pandemic and although welcomed, the support package will not be enough to help Merton recover.

Speaking to Wimbledon Times, Stephen Alambritis, said: “During the course of the pandemic, we’ve worked tirelessly to protect our most vulnerable residents and support those in need.

“We’ve absorbed the cost of launching new services almost overnight and redirected resources and staff towards the crisis.

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“This announcement, while welcome, does not come close to meeting the combined impacts of the loss of income and additional spending incurred by councils.

“By only being able to recover 75% of 95% of our income losses, we will be left with a budget gap in Merton of an estimated £20 million on top of the pressures we had going into the pandemic.

“That’s far too much for any local area to absorb.

“We also have to factor in that we are by no means out of this yet.

“The risk of a second wave is there, and consumer confidence will take time to return to the high streets. Losses to local budgets are far from over.”

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