Some authorities could become ‘financially unsustainable’ due to pandemic

Public Finance magazine has reported that the leaders of all six Oxfordshire councils have warned that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could leave some “financially unsustainable”, and urged the government to provide more funding.

The county’s council leaders and MPs have written to the government warning that without extra funding to cover shortfalls, authorities across Oxfordshire will be unable to cope. They predict that some could be unable to set a legal budget for 2021/22.

The predict county wise costs resulting from the pandemic could reach £100 million. In contrast the county has been allocated £14.9 million. It’s four district councils and Oxford City Council have only received £300,000 so far.

Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council said:

“We are over a month into Oxford City Council working under emergency arrangements. That’s seen us delivering food and medication to hundreds of vulnerable residents, renting more than 120 hotel, college and hostel rooms for homeless people to social distance, and facilitating up to £83m of immediate financial support to Oxford’s businesses.”

“We followed government guidance to act fast and decisively to deliver help to the many people in need across the city, rather than worry overly about the cost implications at this stage. The government assistance package promised so far is welcome, but it doesn’t even begin to cover this,” she added. “A lot more will be needed if we are to be able to maintain all services at the levels Oxford’s citizens have enjoyed in recent years.”

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