Eastbourne Council forecasts £9.9million budget deficit due to Covid-19

Cabinet councillors today (July 15) heard that Covid-19 is estimated to leave Eastbourne Borough Council facing a budget deficit of around £9.9million for this financial year, according to the latest forecast.

Revised projections are based on recent developments including assumptions for an economic bounceback after July and the easing of some coronavirus restrictions.

Councillor Steve Holt, (pictuered) Cabinet member for Financial Services, said: “Like all councils across the country, we are finding ways of reducing costs and making savings, but it remains clear that we are in a very challenging financial position.

“While we have received some support from government, a substantial amount more is needed – it must live up to its promise to compensate councils for the impact of Covid-19.”

Around £0.5million has so far been spent on emergency response activities such as vital work supporting vulnerable residents through the community hub.

Nationally, a recent BBC investigation found that nearly 150 authorities were forecasting a combined budget shortfall of at least £3.2bn.

Councillor Holt added: “Alongside continual lobbying of government to fulfil its funding pledge, we are exploring all options to ensure a sustainable financial future and continuing to make efficiencies wherever possible and reviewing our costs.

“Councils the length and breadth of the country are in severe financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 crisis. In Eastbourne, residents are assured we are doing all we can to minimise this impact and maintain frontline services in the town. Despite government being vague in their support, our number one priority is to make sure our residents are supported during Covid-19.”

So far, the council has received emergency funding of £1.09million from the government to cope with coronavirus.

On July 2, the government announced there would be further help for local authorities and Eastbourne Borough Council awaits further information on the extent of this support.