Council leader says more crisis funding is needed

Published Monday 4 May 2020

Harborough District Council’s leader says he welcomes extra funding from Government to help the local authority respond to the coronavirus pandemic – but says much more is needed.

Last week, the Government announced a second wave of funding totalling £1.6bn for all councils on the frontline of supporting communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

Cllr phil king conIn the first Government allocation Harborough District Council received just £31,183 to fund its response to the crisis and support the community and businesses affected by the pandemic.

In this latest round, Harborough District Council has received a further £935,008; giving a total of £966,191 in funding received.

Cllr Phil King, Leader of Harborough District Council said: “It is clear that the financial impact of this pandemic will continue far longer than the lockdown. Whilst I welcome this extra support for the Council; much more is needed if we are to deliver the widespread support for our community that is needed.”

Cllr King said that the council had incurred significant loss of revenue from trade waste due to businesses being in lockdown; and from halting car parking charges. He also said other councils in Leicestershire had received significantly more funding than Harborough District Council.

He added: “To put this in context, for every £1 that the Government has given to local authorities across the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Resilience Forum, Harborough District Council has received just 1.65 pence! We understand these funds do help cover most of the increased costs and lost income that the Council has experienced so far; however, it is expected that there will be a continued hit on our income streams from a variety of sources and increased costs associated with the pandemic and local support measures, that will be in the multi-millions of pounds.”

Cllr King has written to all three local MPs to lobby for more funding to help communities and businesses in crisis over the long term.

Last month, Harborough District Council was named as one of the ten best performing local authorities in England for getting urgent financial support to businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So far, more than £17m has been distributed by Harborough District Council to approximately 1,340 businesses across the district.