Wakefield Council faces £20m black hole in finances after coronavirus

Wakefield Council could face a £20m hole in its finances after the coronavirus crisis has passed.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 2:34 pm
Wakefield Town Hall

The local authority has had to spend huge since lockdown started last month while at the same time losing out on cash from business rates and tax.

But despite government promises that all councils will "get what they need" to see the pandemic through, Wakefield could be left seriously short, the district's Labour leader has said.

Last weekend, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned that some councils were at risk of financial collapse because of the virus.

That prompted a swift response from the government, who then pledged more money.

But even if Wakefield gets what it expects from that new windfall - the exact amount is yet to be confirmed - the council says that still won't match what it's had to spend on the emergency.

Leader Denise Jeffery said: "I welcome the government’s additional funding for local government.

"However, even if our share from this allocation were to match the previous allocation we would still face an estimated financial gap of almost £20m for this financial year alone with continuing uncertainty beyond March 2021.

"For this reason we are continuing to lobby the government to provide more support for councils, to help us to support our local residents."

Local authorities elsewhere have warned of huge gaps in their finances as well this week.

In Calderdale, the council believes it will be left £30m short by the end of the crisis, while Leeds City Council says it will have a £130m black hole.

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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