Financial cost of Covid-19 continues to impact Mid Sussex District Council

PR2383/PS/MF - 05/10/2021

Mid Sussex District Council is projecting to use a further £1 million of General Reserve funds in 2022/23 to cope with ongoing costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Full Council met on Wednesday 29 September to discuss the Council’s latest financial position and establish clear financial planning guidelines that will help the authority through the post pandemic recovery.  

The financial cost of supporting local communities during COVID-19 has been huge and, even with support from the Government, Mid Sussex District Council has had a £1.4 million deficit in 2020/21 financial year and is forecast to require an additional £2 million each year over the medium term.

Whilst the direct impacts of the pandemic are starting to reduce, the financial effects will continue to be felt for many years to come. Rent from town centre properties, parking charges and planning fees all help to fund essential Council services but that income has significantly reduced since the pandemic and its recovery is uncertain.

The medium-term financial picture is complicated further by funding changes that are expected to be made by the Government from 2023/24 onwards. The Fair Funding review is expected to reduce funding for Councils in the South East and a Business Rate reset is likely to take funding away from areas of strong economic growth, like Mid Sussex, and redistribute it in other parts of the country.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:

“We can be under no illusions, there are tough times ahead and we must take action to get the Council’s finances back into balance.

“This is not a unique situation, Councils all over the UK are facing the same issues as they battle to make ends meet in the aftermath of the pandemic. The excellent work we have done to build up our financial reserves over the past decade can help us cope in the short-term but we must face these challenges head on.

“Our mission over the next 18 months is to put this Council in the strongest financial position we can, in order to protect services for local residents and support the economic recovery.”