TENS of millions of pounds in government Covid funding left BCP Council with a budget surplus at the end of the last financial year.

More than £75 million in grants were awarded to the council over the course of 2020/21 which helped it manage difficulties, including the loss of £10 million in car parking income.

A cabinet report said this said this showed the government “honoured its commitment to provide the council with all the resources it needs” made at the start of the pandemic.

The annual financial outturn report shows the first lockdown led to “significant” overspends in some areas, particularly due to the drop in car parking income.

Spending within its children’s services department was also above its budget – by £6.4 million – due to rising costs in special school places and an increasing need for them.

“The care packages pressure is from both significantly increased cost of some placements due to greater needs and complexity but also a continued increase in numbers of children being placed into care,” the report says.

Despite these issues, the council ended the year with a surplus of £5.1 million, which has been added into its reserves.

This was due to several rounds of government grant funding which totalled more than £75 million over the course of the year.

Included in this is £29 million through the Covid pressures grant, £34 million in ring-fenced funds for specific services and £14 million to replace lost income.

“Overall, this support was sufficient to fund the council’s additional costs and lost income from the pandemic during 2020/21 with some grants able to be carried forward to manage the outbreak as lockdown measures [were] eased in the new financial year,” the report adds.

“This demonstrates that the government has honoured its commitment to provide the council with all the resources it needed to cope with the pandemic.”

Because a funding surplus was predicted at the end of last year, £13 million had already been added to the council’s reserves but costs during the course of the first lockdown were lower than expected, leaving the council with an overall £5.1 million surplus.

The report, which will be considered by the cabinet later this month, recommends this is also added into a council reserve fund.