COUNCILS across the North-East have written to the region's MPs amid an estimated shortfall of £272m in coronavirus financial support.

The Association of North East Councils (ANEC), made up of 12 of the region’s local authorities, has written to all MPs in the North-East calling on the government to commit to covering all costs councils face as a result of the pandemic.

The authorities have so far received £166m to help them meet the costs of the pandemic, but say they have incurred a combined estimate of £438m in costs and lost income by March 2021, giving a shortfall of £272m for the financial year 2020/21.

Councils are asking MPs that the Government commit to fund all Covid-19 costs and income pressures, and recognise the longer-term impact on council finances.

Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council and chairman of ANEC, said: “These figures lay bare the extent of the shortfall councils in the North-East are facing in terms of the financial support provided by the government and the actual costs and lost income resulting from the coronavirus.

"While we are grateful the funding we have received, it is clear that it is not anywhere near enough."

ANEC has highlighted the financial pressures face by all 12 councils, including supporting the adult social care market by increasing weekly fees to finance the increased costs in relation to PPE, supplies and staffing costs, community support, providing food, support and advice, home to school transport costs, reductions in council tax and business rates income, lost income in leisure, culture and car parking and trading losses.

ANEC is also asking for longer term government support for businesses, through wider business rates reliefs or continuing the furlough scheme for certain sectors.

Cllr Henig added: "We have already written as ANEC to the Prime Minister asking for the government to cover council’s costs. We have now chosen to set out the financial situation our local authorities are facing to all our North East MPs in the hope they can support us in what we are asking for of government.”