Council pumps more than £1 million into leisure services to cover cost of Covid-19 impact

West lothian council
Councillor Kirsteen Sullivan (corr)
(labour) - Whitburn and BlackburnWest lothian council
Councillor Kirsteen Sullivan (corr)
(labour) - Whitburn and Blackburn
West lothian council Councillor Kirsteen Sullivan (corr) (labour) - Whitburn and Blackburn
More than £1 million has been spend propping up the finances of West Lothian Leisure because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been revealed.

The figures were made public in a six-month budget monitoring report to West Lothian Council’s Culture and Leisure Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP).

The projected overspend in the Culture & Sports budget is £1.484 million and relates to additional projected spending in culture of £183,000 and £1.301 million in sports.

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A report to the PDSP said : “The overspend in sport of £1.301 million relates mainly to the support provided to West Lothian Leisure to help manage the additional cash flow costs resulting from the impact of continuing Covid-19 restrictions.”

The £183,000 loss on the cultural side relates to lost income from Linlitghow’s Burgh Halls which are currently closed. The report added: “Once the facility reopens, the business plan will be fully implemented, which includes a range of initiatives such as reducing evening opening hours to focus on peak revenue generating times, development of a seasonal events programme, promoting the wedding business through a major national wedding planning website, improvements to the LBH website and joining West Lothian Chamber of Commerce to increase conference trade.”

West Lothian can claim a share of £90m set aside by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities )towards these losses.

Councillor Kirsteen Sullivan said: “It’s fair to say that we are not going to get the full amount back.”

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The report conceded: “There remains significant risks and uncertainties associated with the financial assumptions in the council’s budget.”

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