The Government’s £500 million of extra funding to help local authorities with Covid-19 costs will only cover a “fraction” of Lambeth Council’s £28 million budget gap, it announced on Friday (July 3). 

Councils across the UK have been concerned about the financial impact of the pandemic after the Government appeared to backtrack on its promise to cover all costs.  

Lambeth says the estimated £28 million in costs, “combined with a huge fall in income from parking, business rates and council tax risks leaving the council facing a major budget gap”. 

To date the council has received £19 million of additional funding. 

Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government, announced the new funding on Thursday (June 2), adding “this government will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with councils and communities as we recover from this pandemic as we renew our commitment to unite and level up the country”. 

But Cllr Maria Kay, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, said Mr Jenrick’s “much-hyped announcement” is “little more than a sticking plaster for the challenges councils face”.  

“Instead of piecemeal announcements that provide a fraction of what local services need, the government should stick to their original pledge to fund councils to do whatever it takes to tackle Covid-19. 

“I’m proud of the work Lambeth did to support local residents – delivering thousands of food packages to vulnerable people, providing PPE to care homes and supporting businesses to help keep them going.  

“But to leave local councils to bear the burden of this national crisis would be profoundly unfair – and would restrict our ability to support a sustainable and equal recovery for all residents,” she said.  

The Leader of Lambeth council, Cllr Jack Hopkins, wrote to the Prime Minister in April to highlight the need for local services to be fully funded so that residents could be kept safe during lockdown.  

Lambeth’s cabinet will consider the financial situation and plans to support t recovery at a meeting later this month. 

The Treasury has been contacted for comment.