Haringey Council forecasts £70m coronavirus toll amid concerns over “deep recession”
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Haringey Council is facing an estimated £70 million hit to its finances from the coronavirus crisis.
Council leader Joseph Ejiofor made a renewed call on Friday (May 29) asking the government to ensure it meets the costs faced by the local authority amid warnings of a “deep recession” following the pandemic.
Haringey has so far received more than £15 million of emergency grant funding from Whitehall.
But that leaves the council’s general fund £30 million worse off as it stands, in addition to a £16 million income collection deficit and an £8 million Housing Revenue Account loss.
In March, local government secretary Robert Jenrick told council leaders the government “stands ready to do whatever is necessary to support councils in their response to coronavirus”.
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Haringey Council wants the government to fully reimburse local authorities for the costs they have incurred due to the pandemic.
Cllr Ejiofor said: “Experts are warning there will be a deep recession and even more challenging times in the future.
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“This local authority, like all other councils, must balance our books and we need the assurance that national government will keep to it’s word and fund local government appropriately.
“Westminster were adamant that we have to protect our residents and stop the spread of this global virus.
“Local authorities were told that we should do what is necessary and that national government would reimburse us later.
“This was the right thing to do to protect all residents and the NHS, but we are aware that it is public money and we are spending it wisely.”
Cllr Ejiofor added: “Councils must focus on delivering services on the front line now – we can’t be looking over our shoulders worrying about how we pay for it tomorrow.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Haringey Council has received more than £15.46 million of this to deal with the pressures of coronavirus, while their core spending power rose by a combined total of almost £12.98 million this financial year even before additional emergency funding was announced.
“The Government will continue to work closely with councils as the pandemic progresses to develop an ongoing assessment of costs as they support their communities through this national emergency.”