OXFORDSHIRE's strapped-for-cash councils are looking carefully at what new government funding to help them recover from the coronavirus will provide to them.

Last week, the Government announced a 'comprehensive' £500 million of funding for local councils across England.

Councils across the country are experiencing budget shortfalls for two reasons: one, they had spent extra money on services during the pandemic; two, they have lost money through shortfalls in rent on buildings they own, car parking charges, and other fees.

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The new £500 million government package is not 'ringfenced' which means Oxfordshire's councils can spend the amount they receive on whatever they want.

The government is also helping councils to recover their lost income by paying them 75p for every pound lost.

But this is only if a council has lost more than 5 per cent of yearly takings.

This will help to cover losses from car parks, libraries, leisure centres and registry offices, but it is unclear if it will help councils like Oxford, which also own portfolios of shops and offices where it charges rent.

The amount each council receives has not yet been announced.

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Ed Turner, Oxford City Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and asset management said: “We are looking at the detail in the Government’s latest update on support that will be made available to help offset the financial pressures arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

"While it will help compensate for the loss of car parking revenues, large swathes of other losses appear not to be covered.

"Therefore this looks like a contribution of around £3 million to Oxford City Council’s £24 million funding gap. "Any help is welcome but, if confirmed, this is a completely inadequate response to the impacts of the pandemic”.