Hertfordshire County Council's budget proposals highlight ongoing costs of Covid-19

The estimates associated with the pandemic are included in budget proposals for 2022/23

By Deborah Price, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 17th January 2022, 11:44 am
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 12:25 pm

The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to put financial pressure on the county council, according to council finance chiefs.

And by the end of the next financial year, it is estimated that the cost of the pandemic to the county council will be in excess of £250m.

The estimates associated with the pandemic are included in budget proposals for 2022/23 that will be presented to a meeting of the council’s cabinet on today (Monday, January 17).

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That document highlights the council’s early financial commitment to support adult social care providers with additional costs associated with the pandemic – whether for additional staffing or PPE.

It highlights Operation Shield, which delivered 120,000 packages of supplies to vulnerable shielding people – as well as the higher costs associated with the delivery of existing services in a safe way.

And it points to £19m of additional costs – linked to the pandemic – that the council will incur in the coming year.

That, according to the document, will include £12m for adult social care costs, and £5m to meet the increasing demand and costs of placements for ‘looked after’ children.

It will also include £800k of lost income for the Hertfordshire Music Service and £800k lost to the county council as a result of reduced turnover during the pandemic.

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“Covid has had a huge financial impact on the council,” says the proposals, known as the Integrated Plan or IP.

“Costs for 2021/22 and 202.23 combined are forecast to exceed £250m.

“Throughout this period, the council has done whatever has been needed to support our residents, and to cover the cost of that.”

Last July the county council ring-fenced £64.2m as ‘Covid-19 Emergency Funding’ – with £22,9 remaining to support the additional financial pressures in 2022/23 and later years.