The alarming state of Horsham District Council’s finances was laid bare in an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council on 23rd July. The COVID-19 pandemic has been expensive to fight. This year HDC is expected to have a shortfall of between £5 million and £9 million. But it’s the loss of income going forward that’s most dangerous to services, with a potential permanent £3 million gap in revenue.
We desperately need more support from the government. But at the moment it’s not coming and HDC are legally obliged to run a balanced budget. All parties therefore joined together to support a package of short-term cuts in capital expenditure to help us through the immediate crisis.
The Capitol has already re-opened but in a limited cinema-only format. Sadly, there have been and will be more redundancies. The Bridge, the Pavilions, Storrington and Steyning Leisure centres are all run by Places Leisure, a large company which operates many leisure centres across the country. They are asking for a very large subsidy to enable them to re-open. HDC is in complicated contractual negotiations with Places Leisure and it may be some time before it can be settled.