Covid costs council £3m in lost car park fees

St Andrews Car Park, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

St Andrews Car Park - one of Norwich City Council's car parks. - Credit: Steve Adams

The fall in people parking in Norwich during Covid lockdowns meant the city council missed out on more than £3m it expected to make from its car parks.

The pandemic has also had an impact on how much Norwich City Council has generated from its commercial property investments.

The leader of Norwich City Council says the government must make more money available or local counc

Coronavirus meant Norwich City Council missed out on £3m it had expected to get in parking fees. - Credit: EDP pics © 2007

Officers are forecasting a half a million pound reduction in what had been budgeted for in rent from its properties, which includes a Travelodge in Harlow and a gym in Ramsgate.

And people's difficulty in paying their council tax bills during the pandemic has added a further £2m to the council tax arrears owed to the council - pushing it past £10m.

The figures are revealed in a budget paper which will go before members of the city council's controlling Labour cabinet on Wednesday, June 9.

However, overall, the council has a £1.6m underspend on its general fund for 2020/21.

Paul Kendrick. Pic: Archant Library.

Paul Kendrick, Norwich City Council cabinet member for resources. - Credit: Archant

Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources at City Hall said: "It's been an exceptional year and there have been things we'd have liked to have done that we were not able to do.

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"But we are in a better position than we thought we would be. At one point we thought we might be in serious financial difficulties."

Council officers say the reduced income from car park fees and commercial rents was offset by one-off savings, including lower than budgeted borrowing costs.

And the council also received extra money from the government to cope with Covid-19, including £2.78m of emergency funding.

The council has also submitted a claim through the government's income compensation scheme for £3.4m - to cover the loss of some of the money from car parks and losses from venues such as St Andrew's Hall and the Norman Centre not being able to operate.

The amount of council tax arrears has increased by £2.1m, taking the total gross arrears to £10.2m.

The government gave the council £2m of grant to provide a Council Tax Hardship Fund, which helped many people on low incomes.

But, in the report which will go before councillors, officers state: "Recovery will continue to be challenging as many customers are now trying to catch up with these arrears as well as pay the current 2021-22 council tax charge."