Here’s how Covid support funding will be spent in the Chichester district

Chichester District Council has more than £560,000 to spend to help keep Covid in check and support the local economy.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 11:10 am

If approved at a meeting of the full council later this month, the money will be split into nine pots covering areas from homelessness and rough sleeping to debt support and Covid safety.

A certain amount of flexibility will be called for, allowing the money to be moved around from pot to pot should the need arise.

At a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (July 6), members were told that the money came from the government’s Covid Outbreak Management Fund, with £414,681 provided via the county council and another £146,955 coming directly from central government.

A bustling Chichester city centre before Christmas

The first grant has to be spent by March 2022 or be repaid.

While the council has not been told if the same rule applies for the second grant, the decision was made to play safe and assume that was the case.

A report to the cabinet said: “The purpose of the grant is to provide funding to local authorities in England to be used for test, trace and contain activity to reduce the spread of coronavirus in their area and to support local economies and public health.”

Leader Eileen Lintill said the money needed to be ‘spent well’, adding: “The key thing is we do get it spent in time because I would hate to see any of it going back.”

The largest pot – £125,800 – will be used for debt recovery and support, helping residents and businesses who have arrears including business rates, council tax, and housing benefit.

The report said: “This includes ensuring they are receiving all benefits [they are] entitled to, receiving debt management advice etc.

“The whole ethos is to help people get themselves straight following the Covid pandemic.”