TOWN Hall chiefs say the council’s property portfolio has ‘stood up well’ to Covid-19 as they ramp up the pressure on the Government over funding.

The Labour-run authority’s finances have been battered during the pandemic, with it resulting in huge additional costs and loss of income.

During Monday’s virtual cabinet meeting, deputy leader Cllr Cathy Mitchell said the town faces a funding shortfall of £31.5 million this year.

It continues to call on the Government to reimburse it fully for coronavirus-related costs.

Cllr Mitchell was keen to highlight the property investments that have been made to generate income.

“We have got a very diverse portfolio which has held up well to the Covid challenge,” she said.

“That newer investment portfolio has really stood up well to the Covid pandemic and it’s going to continue to give us a net income.

“It will be slightly lower than before but it’s an important net income to the council to help us to support services.”

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden told members the authority is making investments to ‘keep the show on the road’ and keep frontline services running, particularly for the most vulnerable.

He said: “I think we’ve got to keep on the pressure, we’ve written a number of letters to the Treasury and to the secretary of state for local government.

“There are a lot of increased costs and there’s a lot of lost income.”

At the start of the month, the Government announced a major new support package to help local authorities respond to coronavirus, which was announced as part of a comprehensive plan to ensure councils’ financial sustainability for the future.

It says it has delivered an unprecedented package of support to councils over recent months, with the latest boost seeing local authorities in England receive a further £500 million.

Recognising that councils are ‘best placed’ to decide how to meet pressures in their local area, this funding has not been ring-fenced.

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Councils are playing a huge part in supporting their communities during this pandemic.

“This Government will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with councils and communities as we recover from this pandemic, as we renew our commitment to unite and level up the country.”