Redbridge set to lose more than £48m due to Covid-19, warns council

Deputy Leader Kam Rai said "a phenomenal amount of work has gone into administering this scheme at s

Deputy Leader Kam Rai said "a phenomenal amount of work has gone into administering this scheme at such short notice" and blamed delays on inadequate information where businesses have changed names or leaseholder details. Picture: Kam Rai - Credit: Archant

Redbridge Council estimates it will lose close to £50million due to the coronavirus.

Cllr Kam Rai, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, told a virtual meeting of the cabinet last night (April 28) the current estimate was £47.5m.

While he said government has been “supportive in terms of cash flow so far”, the amount promised in grant money is nowhere near what the council expects to lose.

Similar concerns have been raised at neighbouring Waltham Forest Council, which estimates it will lose £40m over the course of the lockdown.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said the lockdown would continue to affect the council’s budget “for the next couple of years”, adding: “The rebuilding of communities is not going to happen overnight.”

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He also addressed the question put to him by some residents about why they were still paying council tax when the council was seemingly “doing less”.

“This report put it out in complete transparency that the council is now working harder than ever before,” he said, “Costs have doubled and even trebled in some cases.”

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Redbridge Council received £7.4m in the first round of grants from government in March and has been told it will receive £8.2m next month, Cllr Rai said.

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