Kingston Council highlights impact of COVID-19 on finances

Kingston Council estimates that the impact of COVID-19 has left a £10m hole in its finances in 20/21.

Kingston Council estimates that the impact of COVID-19 on its finances through the additional costs of the response, additional service demands and the income losses sustained by the Council has left a £10m hole in its finances in 20/21 with a further £8m in 2021/22.

The figure is a forecast of the impact so far - as the council continues to ensure that it keeps people safe from the impact of the pandemic and works to ensure that risk to residents of a further outbreak are minimised.

Leader of the Council, Caroline Kerr said:

“It is absolutely our role to protect residents who are especially vulnerable. There is no question that this is the right thing to do. But the government needs to be clear that this comes at a price - years of cuts to local government spending means there simply isn’t spare cash to cover a long-term emergency response or meet the significant increases in service demands and loss of income. 

“The council increasingly needs to ensure every penny we have is focused on supporting key services. There is no slack in the system. We will continue to do everything we can to protect residents and keep them safe, whether that’s through the immediate response to providing care and support for older and vulnerable residents, supporting businesses and now an ongoing duty to support the Trace and Track programme to continue to control the virus. It is our role to do all of this but it continues to cost money. 

“The on-going response to support people is obviously a priority for us. Hundreds of people across Kingston have come together to support residents in new and different ways - and we will need to keep doing this as we face the ongoing and longer term health and financial impacts of the pandemic.” 

The council’s Response and Recovery committee will meet on Thursday (25 June) to examine the financial impact of the pandemic and the need to find in-year savings and consider proposals to implement constraints on expenditure and a freeze on non essential recruitment.

The meeting will be broadcast live on YouTube.