More government funding required to protect vital services

Enfield Council is urging the government to fully fund all its costs associated with COVID-19 as its latest estimates show a £61m pressure through additional spend and lost income.

Despite 10 years of reduced government funding and increasing pressure on services, which has forced the Council to find savings of £193.2m since 2010, the borough had put in place strong financial management systems and was embarking on a series of ambitious projects to dramatically improve the quality of life of its residents.

However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant strain on the Council's budgets and it is now vital that the government increases the amount of financial support it has so far offered local authorities or further cuts to vital frontline services will have to be made.

The Council's Medium Term Financial Strategy – which was agreed by Enfield Council's cabinet last night (15 July) shows the Council needs to make savings of £18.6m in 2021/22 even if all of its costs are covered and a total of £58.6m over the next five years to break even.

If the government does not fully fund Enfield Council's COVID-19 costs, the amount of savings required could increase by up to £16m more for 2021/22 – almost certainly resulting in significant cuts to Council services.

So far the government has committed £17.9m to Enfield to cover its costs with another allocation announced in recent weeks .  The Council is still waiting to learn how much additional cash it will receive from this tranche of funding.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, Cllr Mary Maguire, said: "Through a combination of robust financial management and thorough planning, we were in a sound position to deliver a range of ambitious projects to improve the lives of our borough's most vulnerable residents.

"We are already facing the prospect of having to make significant savings this year. But if the government fails to deliver on promises to fund our COVID-19 costs we will be forced to make additional, significant cuts to front line services to ensure we can deliver balanced budgets in the years to come.

"We want the government to deliver on its commitment to fully fund all local government's coronavirus costs so that we can continue to deliver the vital services our residents rely on now and in the future.""

Enfield Council is also continuing to push the Government for Fair Funding for Enfield, a revised business rates redistribution arrangement and reformed Adult Social Care funding.

The Cabinet item is subject to call in.

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