On 29th June Baroness Pinnock asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their response to reports that five of the largest councils in the United Kingdom may have to issue a notice under section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as a result of a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on local council income in Luton.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is not only these five councils who are facing severe challenges. Luton Borough Council in my own diocese, which is one of the most innovative and forward-looking councils in the country, owns Luton Airport. Due to the lockdown, the collapse of this income stream is resulting in a massive hole in the council’s revenue. What conversations have Her Majesty’s Government had with Luton Borough Council? What are the Government intending to do to support Luton?
Lord Greenhalgh: I agree with the right reverend Prelate. A number of local authorities will feel impacts as a result of Covid-19 pressures, particularly Luton Airport. This was raised with me by officials who have been dealing with the local council. As I mentioned before, if there are specific councils that face unique problems, as in the case of Luton Airport, they should contact officials. These will be dealt with on an individual, case-by-case basis.