A CITY leader is calling on the government to support Southampton City Council as it has been revealed that the authority has lost millions of pounds since the start of the pandemic.

Christopher Hammond, council leader in Southampton, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for reassurance over the financial support the council will receive in the future.

It comes as in his letter the city leader said that since the beginning of the pandemic the city council “has incurred extra costs of £2.4m and lost an estimated £4.3m”.

READ: The full text of Cllr Chris Hammond's letter to Boris Johnson >>>

Last weekend the government announced an extra £1.6bn to help local councils.

But Cllr Hammond said that while the extra cash injection is welcome, “it’s only a stop gap to ensure the immediate costs of the local response to Covid-19 can be covered”.

He said the city council has seen £151m worth of cuts over the past eight years.

"Now is not the time for another dose of that poisonous medicine," Cllr Hammond said.

In his letter to Boris Johnson, he added: "Shrinking councils further will lead to higher costs for the NHS. What future awaits the very heroes who’ve worked valiantly to keep this city moving is in doubt. I am sure that your government would not want to abandon those who were there for the country, as such a betrayal would be a bitter end to this dark chapter.”

Cllr Hammond said pressures in adult social care and children’s services could see a forecast spend of £10m while incomes from revenues for business rates and council tax are “significantly lower”.

He warned that without further support, once the coronavirus crisis is over councils will have to deliver more cuts and withdraw services. Talking to the Local Democracy Reporting Serviceyesterday he added: “The longer this goes on, the greater the impact and the more money we will need. Council services and collective action will be required as much in the recovery to the pandemic as it is dealing with the immediate effects.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Secretary of State has announced a further £1.6 billion of funding for councils, taking total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion. This new funding will support them through immediate pressures faced by councils to respond to coronavirus and protect vital services.”

No 10 has been approached for comment.