Pandemic leaves Scarborough council struggling to balance its books
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As Scarborough Borough Council responded to the challenge of dealing with the pandemic, a decision was quickly made to redeploy the staff who would been organising events at the venue.
One has now been moved to the team responsible for handing out the business grants to cash-starved local businesses, many of whom have been hit hard by the loss of tourism income during the crucial Easter weekend.
The cancellation of the summer season of concerts in the resort town, featuring the likes of Lionel Ritchie, Westlife and Little Mix, has been devastating for the tourism industry and the local firms that depend on it.
And the council has been working seven days a week to ensure the more than £50m in grants from central government for small businesses, going to some 4,400 firms around the borough, gets out the door as soon as possible.
Scarborough Borough Council faces a huge shortfall of £12m, equivalent to nearly 50 per cent of its budget, as a result of fall in income and the extra costs needed to tackle the crisis.
The borough sees more cases of homelessness than its more affluent North Yorkshire neighbours, with the number of people in temporary accommodation more than doubling from 45 to 100 during the crisis.
And the loss of tourism revenue has been particularly significant, with the council missing out on expected funding from parking as well as its own commercial investments, like a hotel, which rely on visitors.
"All that money is used to plug the gap in service delivery on the back of a quite significant reduction in funding over over a number of years," says the council's chief executive Mike Greene.
Stressing the positives, he says the lack of international tourism as the world waits for a vaccine to be developed may mean domestic resorts like Scarborough and Whitby could see benefit from a spike in visitor numbers.
"The challenge for us as a local authority is how we help them to still operate with social distancing," he says.
"Our message in North Yorkshire has very much been 'don't visit', it will have to turn quickly to help businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector."
But in the longer term town halls like his will play a vital role in regenerating local economies once the worst of the pandemic is over.
"It's sad to think that we're going to be in a situation where we're really going to struggle to make our books balance if we don't get an injection of cash but we can't even afford to stand still," he says.
"We need to be able to support our economy and our community to get back on their feet. We're going to have a really crucial role so it's very difficult unless something is done."