Rotherham Council officers forecast £7m overspend on council services as pandemic impacts finances

Rotherham Council is facing a £7 million overspend on its services, as the impact of the pandemic on council finances begins to emerge.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:38 pm

However, £8.3m of emergency funding from the government has allowed the authority to balance its books, leaving £1.1m to mitigate any further pressures.

A report to cabinet at the authorities meeting today (September 20) set out the council’s financial position for the first four months of 2021/22 and forecast for the remainder of the financial year.

The biggest area of overspend was £4.6m in the regeneration and environment department, which faced cost pressures due to “the increases in self isolating staff, in waste services particularly.”

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An estimated £405,000 has been lost in parking charges, and “income shortfalls” at Rother Valley Country Park and Waleswood Caravan Park are expected to be up to £693,000 this year.

A Council Spokesperson said: “The current forecast for the financial year is an overspend of £7.2m on Council services. This includes the estimated cost impact of COVID on all services. However, the Council has access to COVID emergency grant funding to mitigate the financial impact of COVID in 2021/22 and the current estimate is that the net position at year-end would be a balanced budget after use of this funding.

“This is our best estimate at this point in time and it is still too early to accurately estimate the financial impact of COVID for the full financial year 2021/22.”

Councillor Chris Read, leader of the council told the meeting that the authority will support further £250 self isolation payments “for people who need them”.

The council set aside cash for Rotherham residents who don’t meet the criteria for government self-isolation support.

To date, 751 claimants have been paid a total of £187,750.

The report adds that for the council to continue the scheme, ” additional funding is required”, and the it will “need to identify additional funding options.

“It is expected that this additional budget requirement will be found from the control outbreak management fund,” the report states.