A NEW estimation of Cheshire West’s Covid-19 financial shortfall has been revealed by the authority’s cabinet member for finance.

Cllr Carol Gahan, Labour, revealed at Wednesday’s (January 13) cabinet meeting that new forecasts showed the borough is facing a £1.2 million shortfall due to the pandemic.

£1.1 million of this was from the 2019-20 financial year — when the virus first hit the UK and saw the country’s first lockdown — with the remainder from the current 2020/21 municipal year.

A report for the cabinet said: “The overall funding shortfall after confirmed government funding is currently estimated at £8.1m. An additional £6.9m of funding is estimated from the income compensation scheme which may reduce the overall shortfall to £1.2 million overall and £0.1 million in 2020-21.

“Council resources of £5.2 million have currently been identified in 2020-21 and £0.1 million of this will be used to fund the forecast 2020-21 shortfall, along with any additional pressures in year and longer term pressures in 2021-22. £3.7 million of the identified Council resources are currently set aside in the Covid-19 earmarked reserve.”

At the meeting, Cllr Gahan added that the council’s fiscal position had worsened due to fewer new homes being constructed and moved into.

She said: “This year we have only got 611 new properties actively liable for council tax and that is compared to an average of almost 1,500.

“This is expected to have an impact of around £1.8 million.”

The most recent shortfall estimate, from November, put the figure at around £1 million, which fell from £5.5 million in October.