Government funding £20 million less than amount needed by Norfolk County Council to manage coronavirus crisis

The government money given to Norfolk County Council to help them fight the coronavirus outbreak falls £20m short of what the county needs, the authority said on Monday.

The council have been given £43m in additional grants to deal with Covid-19, but estimate they will spend £63m due to increased costs, loss of income and inability to meet savings targets.

The authority had been calling for a fairer funding model since before the coronavirus outbreak, but have now reiterated the need for a rethink of council finances.

Councillor Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, told a cabinet meeting on Monday: “The time has now come where we can say to the Government we have much more clarity about what we need – just saying give us more doesn’t work unless we have the data behind it and now we do.

“We have been supporting the County Councils Network and the Local Government Association in all they have been doing but we can ramp up our engagement with ministers to make a specific case for Norfolk, based on this evidence and data.”

Read more: Councils call for urgent financial help from central government

Council documents forecast that the pandemic will have the heaviest impact on the adult social care department, which is predicted to have to shoulder £38m of extra costs.

The work undertaken by the department was highlighted at Monday's meeting by Cllr Bill Borrett, the member responsible for social care.

He revealed that staff had sorted through around 13,500 cases and phoned 2,500 at-risk people to ensure they had the support they needed.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "We’re giving councils an unprecedented package of support, including £3.2 billion emergency funding, to tackle the pressures they have told us they’re facing.

“Norfolk County Council has received a total of £43.67 million of this funding while their core spending power rose by £46.81 million this financial year even before additional emergency funding was announced.

“In total, the Government has provided over £27 billion to support local councils, businesses and communities in fighting the pandemic, including £600 million to help reduce the infection rate in care homes and £300m to support track and trace.

“The Government will continue to work closely with councils to develop an ongoing assessment of costs as they support their communities through this national emergency.”