Bedford Borough Council will receive an additional £8,945,733 of funding from central government to help offset the costs of responding the coronavirus pandemic.
This works out at around £52 per person in the Borough and s to help councils continue to provide essential services such as:
- Getting rough sleepers off the street
- supporting new shielding programmes for clinically extremely vulnerable people
- and assistance for the public health workforce and fire and rescue services
The funding can also be used for adult social care and children’s services.
However, Mayor Dave Hodgson (Lib Dem) said it may still leave the area a little short, claiming that early estimates predict “a gap in our budget of up to £30million in the next few years.”
How Bedford Borough compares to nearby authorities
Total coronavirus funding:
- Central Bedfordshire: £13,524,342
- Milton Keynes: £13,504,845
- Luton: £11,258,007
- Bedford Borough £8,945,733
Coronavirus funding per person:
- Luton: £52.58
- Bedford Borough: £52.12
- Milton Keynes: £50.28
- Central Bedfordshire: £47.69
Of all the areas receiving funding, this places Bedford at 139th out of 151 in total amount rewarded and 116th in the amount per person.
The mayor added further, “we are taking a revised Budget for this year to a meeting of the Executive in June, which will discuss the financial impact of coronavirus as we know it so far.
“The most important thing we are doing is working to keep people safe; across social care, in our care homes, ensuring no one need sleep rough, and providing vital support to isolated individuals through the Community Hub.
“This unprecedented coronavirus crisis has placed a huge financial strain on local authorities across the country.
“As a Council we are expecting the costs to be much higher than the extra funding we have been given so far, and the impact of this to be with us into next year and beyond.”
Meanwhile, leader of the Bedford Conservative Group, Cllr Graeme Coombes says the figures will have been worked out fairly, using a “complicated formula which rightly ensures that resources are directed to the areas of the country with the greatest social needs.”
Cllr Coombes added the funds are “welcome news” in the battle against COVID-19.
“These additional resources will help the clinically vulnerable, keep rough sleepers off the streets, assist our public health workforce and help ensure that those who need care can get it,” he said.
The government announced £1.6bn of additional funding for local government in March, later announcing a further £1.6bn additional funding on 18 April 2020.
This extra £1.6 bn took the total given to councils to more than £3.2bn.
Data compiled by BBC Shared Data Unit