THE leader of Cheshire East Council is hopeful more Government support will arrive as it faces a possible £56 million hit thanks to the pandemic.

CEC has received close to £19.7 million from the Government so far to help meet the additional costs of dealing with Covid-19.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, CEC’s Labour leader, told the Guardian that figure is not yet enough to cover its expected losses – but he is hopeful more money will be on its way.

“It is good news that we have got close to £20 million but it is nowhere near enough,” he said.

Knutsford Guardian:

“The total that we calculated that it would cost, in terms of extra expense this year as a result of the coronavirus, is £56 million.”

CEC received more than £9.1 million in the first tranche of funding, and more than £10.5 million in the second tranche.

The most recent cash was distributed based on the borough’s population, and Cllr Corcoran believes that could mean more money will be on its way.

He said: “The fact that it was not very scientific suggests there will be another tranche – that the Government is aware they have not solved the problem with this money and there will be more to come.

“We have also had assurance from ministers since the beginning of the crisis that if we save lives by spending money, then spend it now and we will sort it out later.

“That was a clear message from Government. Had we not had that assurance we would be in a much more nervous position.”

The cash is part of a £3.2 billion package that has been distributed to councils in England so far since the start of the pandemic.

Cllr Janet Clowes, Conservative group leader on CEC, is ‘really pleased’ that the council is receiving the cash from Government to ‘help ensure essential services are not impacted by the extra demands’ caused by the coronavirus.

Knutsford Guardian:

“CEC staff are working extremely hard under extraordinary circumstances to ensure the vulnerable are supported and protected,” she said.

“Together with the phenomenal response of communities across the borough to support those in need or who require shielding from Covid-19, we will continue to work closely with CEC staff and ministers to ensure they have the resources they need to carry out their important work.”

The Government says the funds will go towards ensuring essential frontline services can continue while the additional work authorities have taken on to tackle Covid-19 can be supported.

“Councils are playing a central role in our national fight against coronavirus and the Government continues to back them at this challenging time,” added Robert Jenrick, communities and local government secretary.