ANOTHER award of government coronavirus aid for Bury is just 'a drop in the ocean', says the borough's council leader.

Around £500m has been released by Whitehall to assist local authorities to recover from the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on local authorities.

But council finance bosses estimate Bury's income losses at £21m since lockdown began - a figure mirrored across other Greater Manchester boroughs.

And with the borough expecting to get around £2.5million, council leader Cllr Eamon O'Brien is not happy.

He warned there could be years of cuts on the horizon "unless the government provides proper financial support" and said: "Bury people deserve more".

Cllr Andrew Western, leader of Trafford Council, which fears bankruptcy, added: "The government narrative seems to be this is a ‘comprehensive’ package of support to councils.

"Total nonsense - it’s five per cent of the funding gap with a clear aim of trying to do just enough to stop us collapsing – these are cost impacts caused entirely by Covid-19 and should be funded in full.”

The government has vowed to cover 75p in every pound lost from this portion of a council’s income, but only when those losses are above five per cent of what a council expected to bring in.

The new funding takes the total government coronavirus handout for local authorities in the UK to £4.3bn.

As part of the plans, cash received will not be ringfenced, meaning councils can decide where the funds go.

Westminster has also announced changes allowing local authorities to spread the repayment of their business rates tax deficits to the government over a three year period, rather than the usual one.

Robert Jenrick MP, Local Government Secretary, said: “Councils are playing a huge part in supporting their communities during this pandemic.

"From supporting the most vulnerable and keeping vital services running to operating local track and trace, council workers have been at the forefront of this great national effort and are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. 

“Today I am providing a further package of support to help meet the immediate pressures councils are facing. I know that the loss of revenue from car parks and leisure centres has created huge difficulties, so I am introducing a new scheme to help cover these losses.

“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.”

The government is set to decide what further support councils will need to meet funding pressures from lost council tax and business rates at its next spending review.

It’s understood the financial impact of coronavirus is likely to be felt more keenly next year for councils for various reasons, and there are calls for that to be reflected in the spending review.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting added the new cash  “does not go far enough” and pointed out a remaining £1.2bn financial gap.

Chief executive Rob Whiteman said: “This autumn’s budget round will be the toughest they have ever experienced.

"Residents up and down the country are likely to experience service redirections as councils meet their statutory duty to balance budgets.”

Adam Lent, Director of the New Local Government Network, added: “Welcome, but it’s no magic bullet. I fear government sees this as a haggle rather than fundamental to the fight aganst COVID and unemployment.”

A Local Government Association spokesman said: "In order to have the certainty they need to set budgets for next year, councils still need urgent clarity on the irrecoverable losses the government has positively said it will pick up.”