A COUNCIL finance boss has admitted that it would have gone bust without £124.77million of government coronavirus cash.

Cllr Vicky McGurk, Blackburn with Darwen Borough's resources chief, admits that it came close to the financial edge in the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic in a report to the authority's Executive Board on Thursday.

It says: "Blackburn with Darwen is one of the areas that has suffered most during the Covid-19 pandemic..

"During the first six months of the pandemic, from March 2020, government funding to cover the significant additional costs being incurred by the council, along with the substantial income losses sustained due to lockdown and various local and national restrictions, came through on an ad hoc basis.

"In the absence of any assurances that our additional Covid-related cost pressures would be met, it became increasingly possible that the council would have to consider issuing a Section 114 notice at some point during the course of the last financial year - a report by the Chief Finance Officer if it appears the expenditure incurred by the authority in a financial year is likely to exceed the resources it has available to meet this.

"This would have meant that no new expenditure would be permitted, with the exception of that required to fund statutory services, including safeguarding vulnerable people.

"Over the course of the summer it appeared cost pressures would easily outstrip the funding provided and, without any assurance of further financial support, it looked increasingly possible the council would have insufficient resources to continue operating to the end of the financial year, given the low level of reserves.

"The council has received £124.77m from government: the majority to support businesses, and other funding to support the response to Covid-19 and the council in its response."

Cllr John Slater, leader of the Conservative group, said: "They are always moaning about government cuts but the fact is that without these government grants the council would have gone under thanks to decades of Labour mismanagement of the council's finances."