The leader of Brent Council said it could be left “short-changed” if it is not fully reimbursed for the impact of Covid-19.

Cllr Muhammed Butt urged the Government to keep what he sees as a “promise” of covering the extra costs and lost income faced by local authorities due to the pandemic.

He pointed out that ministers told councils to do “whatever it takes” to help manage the outbreak and support residents.

He said Brent had achieved this as best it can – which could result in £20 million of extra pressures – and called on the Government to keep up its end of the bargain.

“We’re getting short-changed again and again and again – that’s why there are gaps in our funding,” Cllr Butt told a Brent Connects meeting yesterday (Thursday, January 14).

“It’s gone from ‘doing whatever it takes’ to ‘burden-sharing’ – what does that mean?”

Cllr Butt said he believes councils will be expected to take a financial hit as a result of Covid-19, which could impact on services.

It comes as he presented the council’s draft budget proposals for 2021/22, which include a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent and cuts of £5.1 million.

Of this 4.99 per cent hike, which will mean an 18p daily increase for band D properties, three per cent will be ringfenced for adult social care.

In terms of savings, the council hopes to recover £1.6 million by streamlining across the board, £1 million will come from reduced Freedom Pass costs, and another £1 million will stem from new procurement efficiencies.

It also expects to save £1.5 million through staff who applied for voluntary redundancy.

Cllr Butt said the “tough decisions” the council had to take stem from reduced funding from central government and an increased demand for services.

He added the proposals will enable the council to “stand still” in terms of what it can deliver but reiterated that further changes could be necessary based on the Covid-19 situation.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Councils continue to play a critical role during the pandemic, and we are ensuring they have the resources needed to deliver effective services for their communities.”

She added Brent Council is set to receive an additional £11 million in funding to help tackle the pandemic, on top of £43 million worth of emergency support it has already been allocated.