With the country now in the grip of a national covid-19 lockdown and rampant infection numbers in the South East, Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Sole is asking how much longer Canterbury City Council’s finances can survive if current restrictions are not lifted until the end of March.

“Unlike other local authorities, Canterbury’s finances have been laid bare by Covid with parking income and retail rents falling away. In the Autumn the council raided reserves to balance the budget and proposed sweeping increases in charges and reductions in expenditure. Now in a new lockdown, that will not be enough.”, said Mike Sole

“With parking income usually around £1m a month the council is haemorrhaging money during lockdown. The reserves have been largely raided already, so we have to ask, how many more weeks can the council’s finances survive and what will be the impact on services to residents?”

“Council officers are working incredibly hard In difficult circumstance but the Conservatives cannot get away with blaming the Covid crisis for everything. Our over reliance on parking and reserves is due to mismanagement, and lack of forward planning.”

Mike Sole added, “The closure of restaurants and retail outlets in the city will inevitably lead to the collapse of businesses and calls for rent reductions from those that are able to survive. There are bleak times ahead as this Conservative council’s reliance on parking income and retails rents is in tatters whilst the huge monthly loan repayments on Whitefriars and the Station Road West multi-storey car park still have to be met every month. Ultimately it will be residents that pay for this with even more higher charges and loss of services.

Posted by Mike Sole

Mike Sole is the councillor for Nailbourne Ward. He works as an accountant and lives with his wife just outside Canterbury near Bridge.

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