Financial cost of Covid in Blackpool less than feared

The financial cost of the Covid pandemic shows Blackpool Council out of pocket by £3m for the current financial year.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:58 pm

However without government support, the total would have spiralled to more than £30m.

On top of this, losses from lockdown for the council’s wholly owned companies will add up to between £4.6m and £4.8m.

The figures were part of the month 10 financial report to the council’s executive, but director of resources Steve Thompson said these were predicted to also be the final figures for the 2020/21 financial year.

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Town hall costs have been set out
Town hall costs have been set out

Government grants covering every element of Covid support totalled £160m during the year.

In his report to the committee Mr Thompson said the past 12 months had been “unprecedented in the operational and consequential financial demands being placed upon the council from the very outset”.

This had led to increased costs while at the same time cutting income, including for the wholly owned companies with the Winter Gardens, Sandcastle Water Park and Blackpool Transport particularly badly hit.

But losses will be between £4.6m and £4.8m rather than up to £12m as had been predicted last May.

Mr Thompson said this gave the companies “a fighting chance to recover that in the five year recovery period we have set them.”

The net Covid financial burden to the council is £3.05m but costs totalled £31m before government support was taken into account.

This has included £15.8m in direct government grants, £8.8m from the government compensation scheme for lost income and £3.6m due from the Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group for additional costs due to enhanced hospital discharges.

Working balances will total £11.4m at the end of the financial year, which is “well over” the £6m target.

All Government Covid-related funding support for the council totalled £160m including business support grants which were distributed, business rates relief, a hardship fund, public health funding and support for the homeless.

The council tax collection rate stood at 83 per cent at month 10, compared to 91.5 per cent at the end of the previous financial year.

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