Edition: Summer 2020
There is an update to this story in our Winter 2021 edition
Like so many of our residents and businesses, Horsham District Council has suffered financially from the COVID-19 lockdown.
As Horsham District lost all its grant funding from central Government over recent years and retains only 4% of the business rates and 8% of the Council Tax it collects, we have come to rely heavily on income we make from our properties, such as from rents and car parks. With shops closed and our businesses struggling, we gave rent relief to our tenants where it was right to do so. With so many residents working from home we opened our car parks for free. Like many other investors, returns on our financial investments have also fallen.
As a result of this we find we are currently losing around £750,000 a month in income. We are also paying out more on essential services needed at this time such as housing rough sleepers and running the Community Volunteer Hubs.
Our mid-range estimate of our losses this year is £6million, but it could be as much as £8million, or 70% of the money that funds our services.
Horsham District has received some funding from the Government to help, but it’s currently only 25% of our expected losses.
A prudent council like us does have money saved for a rainy day and we will survive. But we will have to seriously consider the services we can afford next year, whilst continuing to support our communities with the services they need.
Read the latest edition
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Cllr Karen Burgess was elected as the new Chairman of Horsham District Council at an online Annual General Meeting on 20 May