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Covid funding to be redirected

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Covid funding to be redirected

FINANCE chiefs are proposing to use funding earmarked for covid purposes to ease cost of living pressures in Dumfries and Galloway.

With the pandemic over and fewer corona related costs remaining in the community, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s money bosses have been re-evaluating spending priorities.

Around £2 million was set aside in a covid budget this financial year, however there will be an underspend, according to council papers.

This will be raised at next week’s finance, procurement and transformation committee when a report reviewing the council’s committed financial reserves will be tabled.

The report reads: “It is currently projected that the financial impact of Covid-19 in 2022/23 will be comfortably within the £2 million allowance set aside for this purpose.

“However, it is apparent that the impact of the current cost of living crisis is increasing demands on council services, including the homeless service, resulting in a need to incur additional costs to address these additional pressures.

“It is therefore suggested that the potential application of this reserve should be widened to cover increased council costs associated with the cost of living crisis, as well as the residual Covid-19 related costs.

“This reserve would therefore be renamed the Covid-19 and Cost of Living Response Reserve.”

It is being proposed that £3.185 million of council reserve funding is released this year to meet outstanding costs and ongoing inflationary pressures.

Councillors are also being asked to set aside £300,000 of this cash to pay the bill for the May 2022 local government election, as well as another £800,000 to be invested into the roads service.

A decision will be taken at the finance committee next Tuesday.


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