CASH-strapped councils across Hampshire are to receive a £51m boost to deal with the pandemic.

The government is to grant a total of £51m to councils in Hampshire with part of the money also going to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The cash boost is part of a £1.6bn funding package being sent to all local authorities in England to help them provide frontline services amid the outbreak.

It follows an initial tranche of £3.2bn granted to councils in April.

The government has now announced how much each council will receive as part of the second tranche of the Covid-19 funding.

The data revealed that the highest amount of money will go to Hampshire County Council, which will receive £24m on top of the £29 received last month.

An extra £7m will be given to Southampton City Council and £6m to Portsmouth City Councils.

Meanwhile, New Forest District Council will receive £1.7m each.

Other councils including those in Eastleigh, Test Valley and Winchester will receive just over £1m each.

Only councils in Gosport, Hart and Rushmoor will receive slightly less than £1m.

Cllr Dan Fitzherny, opposition leader in Southampton, said the grants show the government’s commitment to support local authorities.

But Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews, cabinet member for resources at Southampton City Council, warned the money might not be enough.

“Whilst this money will help, it will not cover the full impact on council finances placed on us by tackling the coronavirus. This is a view that is widely accepted by councils across the country and the Local Government Association,” he added. 

The news comes as last month city council leader Christopher Hammond said the pandemic left the local authority with a £6.7m black  hole.

County bosses at Hampshire County Council welcomed the extra cash boost but also highlighted funding pressures in adult social care.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “The additional funding will help, in a limited way, to offset some, but not all, of the additional costs being incurred by both the local authority, as well as the care sector for which cash flow is a key issue, particularly for small providers of care. ”

Alan Bethune, head of finance at New Forest District Council, said the money received from the government will absorb new expenditure pressures and income losses nearly up until the end of May.

But he added: “It’s clear that financial implications, both in service delivery income and additional expenditure, are likely to extend beyond this point, and so the new pressures faced by the council will exceed the funding currently allocated.”

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council Phil North, said to be heartened that the council will received an extra £1.26m.

“Despite the tough financial situation – and thanks in part to our reserves – we are still managing to continue our valued frontline services and this funding will be used to cover, as much as possible, all losses incurred by the council,”he added. 

Meanwhile Eastleigh Borough Council said it is “too early” to say whether the funding will be enough.

“However, currently the council is comfortable that the finances are sustainable for the future as outlined in our recent cabinet report,”a spokesperson for the authority said.

Cllr Paul Taylor, cabinet member for corporate services at Rushmoor Borough Council said the funding will help to offset additional costs of keeping vital services running, and help mitigate the impact of reduced income from sales, fees and charges on the council’s budget.

Cllr Mark Hook, leader at Gosport Borough Council, also welcomed the announcement.

Cllr Hannah Golding, cabinet member for finance and service improvement at Basingtsoke and Deane Borough Council, said: “During the pandemic, the council’s budget has been put under pressure with income falling drastically This funding will help us to manage these additional costs and we will continue to lobby the government for further support and assistance to address the significant financial impact on the council’s finances.”

Havant Borough Council  said the money will be spent to help ease the financial pressure councils are facing due to the lockdown. 

In a statement Hart District Council said it has so far received £963,234 from the government and added: “We do not anticipate that the funding provided so far will be sufficient to cover all financial impacts arising as a result of the pandemic. However, our prudent financial management means we do not face imminent cash flow concerns. However, we remain in regular communication with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to discuss ongoing and possible further financial grants.”

All councils in Hampshire as well as Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were approached for comment.

Here it is how much each Hampshire council will receive as part of the second tranche of Covid-19 funding:

  • Basingstoke & Deane  £1,744,410
  • East Hampshire £1,210,873
  • Eastleigh £1,326,468
  • Gosport £841,471
  • Hampshire County Council £24,313,635
  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service £1,379,361
  • Hart £963,234
  • Havant £1,262,535
  • New Forest £1,783,127
  • Portsmouth £5,939,203
  • Rushmoor £934,902
  • Southampton £6,992, 403
  • Test Valley £1,258, 912
  • Winchester £1,242,881