OSWESTRY'S mayor and chairman of the town council's finance committee have come together to warn of financial uncertainty in 2021's budget because of the impact of Covid-19.

In a joint statement realised on behalf of Councillors Duncan Kerr and Chris Schofield, the pair stated that the uncertainty is focussed around a loss in car park income because of the two separate lockdowns.

With the budget being set in January 2021, Cllrs Kerr and Schofield moved to assure residents that a number of events and services in the town will be safeguarded, and that they are investing money in its future.

The council is heading into its annual budget setting process facing a degree of uncertainty regarding its finances in the short term, this is primarily due to the significant loss of car parking income," the statement said.

"Approximately 25 per cent of the council's income comes from Council Tax (£416,000 precept in 2020/21) with the remainder coming from generated income (fees, charges and rental income).

"The council does not receive grants from government nor does it benefit from any of the business rates paid locally – indeed the council pays business rates.

"Covid grant funding and relief on business rates has not been made available to Oswestry Town Council.

"While the council's overall financial position remains healthy, the Covid pandemic, lockdown and a change in life patterns has had an impact, for example before lockdown two, car parking income was approximately £3,000 lower than it was at the same time last year.

"In November 2020 the council estimated that it will lose £40,000 of income. Savings have been made and prudent financial management over many years has meant that it can manage this current position but there are undoubtedly risks in the medium to longer term."

The statement highlighted that a Band D property in Oswestry would pay £78.05 compared to £151.45 in Whitchurch or £174.27 in Ludlow.

The pair added: "In addition to this revenue expenditure, Oswestry Town Council has agreed to put forward £500,000 from the Smithfield Windfall Capital Receipt to match fund the Historic England investment into the town centre which will see improvements to shop fronts, public realm and a significant regeneration project.

"The Town Council financial information, spend and monitoring information is published in council papers which are available to the public.

"This statement has been prepared to offer reassurance that the council continues to manage its finances with the best interest of Oswestry residents in mind."