Council estimates £19m extra cost of Covid-19 response

The cost to Kingston Council of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to be £19m more than government grants.

This huge challenge will be discussed tonight at Kingston Council's first Response and Recovery Committee meeting. Increased demand for social care services as well as a significant loss of income means there is an estimated shortfall of approximately £19m that will not be met by current government grants or funding. This comes as the Local Government Association estimates that nationally councils across the country need an additional £13bn to cover the amount spent on services and the loss of income.

Council Leader, Caroline Kerr, said: 

"We need clarity from the government about when local authorities will receive further funding so we can keep supporting our residents through this crisis and prepare for recovery. That is our top priority but we should be under no illusion about the scale of the challenge that this will present in the future. 

"We know the minimum impact will be £19m but we do not know if the government will help meet those costs. We also do not know how long the pandemic will last or how the Kingston - or the national - economy will be impacted. We have a statutory duty to present a balanced budget - this means we can not legally be in deficit. 

“I do think it's important that we are honest about the scale of the challenge. No council has ever experienced anything like this before - we are all in new territory. We need to be clear this is truly unprecedented. We are of course planning how we respond and will continue to work locally and nationally to find the best solutions we can to enable us to support our residents."