Wiltshire Council 'confident' they will avoid 'bankruptcy'

Wiltshire Council 'confident' they will avoid 'bankruptcy'

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 11:28am 30th June 2020.

3 minute read

The authority say they're 'working round the clock' to recover from the financial strain of Covid-19.

Wiltshire Council has already stated that they're expecting to have a funding shortfall in the region of £50 million for the current financial year. 

They've also received £29.8 million of support from the Government, but only £400,000 of that is allocated towards the costs that the authority's incurred in responding to the crisis.

But the Council's reassuring us that they believe that despite those financial struggles they won't have to issue a Section 114 notice - that's a process as part of the Local Government Act that warns the authority's budget will be unbalanced and they'll have no funding available.

Pixabay Money 2019
Wiltshire Council's admitted that money will be tight throughout this financial year

WHAT COSTS HAVE WILTSHIRE COUNCIL FACED? 

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, they cancelled parking charges throughout the county, which reduced the income coming in to them.

They've also had to close leisure centres, and that also brings a loss of income.

Wiltshire Council launched a Wellbeing Hub too - based at Salisbury's Five Rivers Centre - with the aim of helping the most vulnerable in the community through the crisis.

Wiltshire Council Wellbeing Hub Five Rivers
The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub has meant that the authority's faced extra financial pressures

Purchasing PPE for council staff and care homes, working with schools to get them ready for reopening and providing key worker lessons and supplying food packages to those in need has also been an additional cost for the authority.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, admitted the Section 114 notice is still a possibility, but it's something they're looking to avoid: 

"What we're facing is not any different to every other council at the moment. In fact, given our prudent and efficient running of the council over the last decade or so, I'd say we're actually in a better position than many. We are undoubtedly facing challenges, and are not shying away from that, however we are confident Government will be providing further financial support, and together with our careful planning, this will help us get through this.
 
"We want to reassure residents who are seeing the word 'bankruptcy' in the media that everyone at the council is working round the clock and is fully committed to deal with this head on. A section 114 notice is always a last resort, and it is not something we're contemplating at the moment."

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