Covid overspend totals £5.5m at South Lanarkshire Council

Several South Lanarkshire Council departments are reporting overspends due to the costs of dealing with coronavirus.

The education, social work and finance committees heard last week how the ongoing costs of the pandemic had resulted in overspends totaling £5.5 million between the three departments in the first six months of the financial year.

Education was overspent by £4 million to November 6 – the latest available figures – while overspends in finance (£1.159 million) and social work (£359,000) were smaller.

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Social work saw the highest Covid-related spend at nearly £13 million however, most of this is expected to be covered by Scottish Government funding through the Social Care Mobilisation Plan.

More than £7 million of mobilisation funding is still outstanding but the Scottish Government has reassured councils that “all reasonable costs will be reimbursed”.

Clydesdale North councillor Catherine McClymont was concerned the Scottish Government had not fully reimbursed the council and asked: “How long has this been outstanding?”

Director of health and social care Val de Souza reponded they were expecting the funds “in the next two to three weeks”.

Education’s overspend was mostly down to the increased costs of making schools safe during the pandemic.

Finance manager Louise Harvey said: “We are reporting an overspend of £4 million against the phased budget.

“This overspend in the main is Covid-related and reflects overspends related to the additional education recovery teachers, increased costs of supply teachers, the operation of the hubs for key worker children during the first lockdown, costs of sanitisation stations, PPE, cleaning supplies and enhanced cleaning regimes.”

Finance and corporate resources also reported an overspend of £1.159 million to November 6 with £880,000 of that related to the costs of dealing with coronavirus.