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Councils set aside funds for ongoing coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 11:41 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:41 26 May 2020

Two more people have died with Covid-19 in Suffolk and north Essex Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Two more people have died with Covid-19 in Suffolk and north Essex Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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New reserve pots dedicated to tackling the coronavirus crisis have been set up by two Suffolk councils.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils have set up a reserve fund each, both topped up with £280,000 specifically in reserve for its coronavirus response.

Those reserves have both been set up from existing funds, with the councils each drawing £140,000 from their business rates reserve and a further £140,000 each from their growth and efficiency funds.

MORE: Bookmark the EADT Coronavirus topic page for the latest updates in your area

A spokeswoman from the two councils said: “The financial impact of Covid-19 was not known or considered when the 2020/21 budgets were set in February.

“These budgets are being created to support our internal processes and to ensure we can clearly identify costs incurred in dealing with Covid-19 that are not covered within our normal budgets; for example emergency accommodation costs for those at risk of homelessness.

“Our focus is on supporting our businesses and communities, providing financial support through administering business rates grants, rate relief and the council tax hardship fund and emerging needs funding for community groups.”

In its delta return to central government sent at the start of the month, Babergh was anticipating a £257,000 overspend and £955,000 loss of income (from things such as leisure centres and car parks) this year from coronavirus.

Mid Suffolk had forecast a £229,000 increase in costs and £939,000 loss in income for the 12 months from April 2020, although both admitted there was not enough data to predict ongoing costs and losses with any degree of certainty, made more difficult by the constantly evolving picture nationally on how lockdown is eased.

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