Northamptonshire County Council gets extra £13 million from government to deal with coronavirus impact

Northamptonshire County Council is getting a further funding boost from the Government.Northamptonshire County Council is getting a further funding boost from the Government.
Northamptonshire County Council is getting a further funding boost from the Government. | jpimedia
Northamptonshire County Council has been given an extra £13.4 million by the Government to deal with the ‘immediate impacts’ of coronavirus.

On April 1, it was announced that the local authorities across the county would receive a £17.6 million funding boost as part of a £1.6 billion handout from the Government.

And after a recent commitment from the Government to double their funding, an extra £20.14 million is heading out to councils across Northamptonshire – but this time the district and borough councils are getting a greater share of the amount.

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Northamptonshire County Council received almost the entire amount of the first payment tranche, receiving £17.2 million with the remaining £400,000 split between the seven district and borough councils.

But the second Government tranche sees the county council receive £13.4 million, with the other councils now getting a larger sum of £6.7 million to share.

While the extra funding will be welcomed, the county council’s Conservative leader Matt Golby recently warned that there would still be a ‘significant’ funding gap.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service shortly after the second Government cash boost was announced – but before the figures for his council were confirmed – Councillor Golby said: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that at a national level, more funding is needed for local government in order for it to deal effectively with the COVID-19 crisis. The recent announcement of additional funding is very welcome, but there will still be a significant gap.”

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The funding for each authority has been based on their population and the latest assessment on the challenges they are facing.

Announcing the latest allocations, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “Councils are playing a central role in our national fight against coronavirus and the government continues to back them at this challenging time.

“That’s why I announced an extra £3.2 billion of support for councils to help them to continue their extraordinary efforts.”

The exact financial impact that coronavirus will have on the county council’s finances is not yet clear. Though it is likely to balance the books for the 2019/20 financial year, cabinet member for finance Councillor Malcolm Longley recently said it would take ‘a couple of months’ for the council to ‘get a handle' of the figures for 2020/21. A report on the financial consequences of COVID-19 is expected to come before the cabinet in May.

This is also likely to impact on the finances for the two new unitary councils for the north and west of the county, which will replace the county council in April next year.