The millions of pounds of Government money Wokingham Borough Council received to tackle the coronavirus crisis has been revealed.

In a meeting of Wokingham Borough Council’s executive committee, members discussed the council’s finances and how much it ended up spending in the 2020/21 financial year.

A report to councillors ahead of the meeting contained the hefty sum the council received to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Wokingham Borough Council received £9.35 million (£9,356,000) of Government grant funding to assist it as the pandemic hit. This £9.35 million was spent on relief for adult social care, childrens services, and the councils resources and assets.

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The council still ended up spending £432,000 of its money to handle the pressures posed by Covid-19.

The figures are were contained in a report to the council’s executive committee during its meeting on Thursday, June 24. In the meeting, the executive was asked to approve the report on the 2020-21 financial year.

The council ended up underspending according to its budget. The budget for 2020/21 was £148 million and it ended up spending £147.2 million.

If 2020/21 was a normal year, the council would have an underspend of £1.22 million. However because of the pandemic, the council had to spend  £432,000 of the money it ‘saved’ from the underspend.

Instead, the council ended up with an underspend of  £788,000.

At the meeting, councillor John Kaiser, executive member finance and housing said: “As we come out the shadow of Covid-19, you will see our other initiatives, we are financially well placed to pursue the goals to eradicated poverty and provide high quality services for all residents of the borough, and will continue to do so, after all, it’s the residents money and it needs to be spent for the benefit of the residents and Wokingham will remain a great place to live. As I’ve said on many occasions, a council that is broke is no use to anyone.”

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The executive also formed a coronavirus recovery strategy at the meeting.

The borough has had a total of 9,107 confirmed cases, and sadly 320 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus.

However, it has also seen what it calls ‘inadvertent positives’ of the pandemic, which have included a reduced impact on the environment, increased home working, and innovation needed to respond effectively to the crisis.

The recovery strategy is based on nine policy areas:

1) Climate Change

2) Physical & Emotional Health & Wellbeing

3) Education and development for children & young people

4) Creating resilient communities & sustainable services

5) Investing in a Sustainable Future, Regeneration and Arts & Culture

6) Supporting & Strengthening Businesses & the Local Economy

7) Stimulate job creation & skills

8) Developing ‘our people’ & new ways of working

9) Contain Outbreak Management Framework

The Recovery Strategy was also approved at the meeting.

The funding for the council’s coronavirus recovery strategy was laid out in the council’s Medium Term Financial Plan, which was approved at an executive committee meeting on February 18.

At that meeting, the council announced plans to spend £136.9 million (136,995,190) in the 2021/22 financial year.

The executive is made up of councillors who are in charge of making policies and implementing them.