SOUTHAMPTON City Council lost £5 million in council tax last year "due to Covid-19", figures have revealed.

Figures from an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report show Southampton City Council forecasted it would collect a total £120.9 million from council tax requirements in 2020 to 2021 – 3.2 per cent more than the year before.

With council tax collected over 10 months, its expected income in the first half of the year was £67.6 million but it collected just £62.8 million.

This means the council collected around £4.8 million less than it hoped to in the first two quarters.

Southampton City Council has said that the loss is due to delayed payments from some residents due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As well as this, the Council claims that there has been reduced tax bills for working age local council tax support claimants in recognition with the pandemic.

Cllr Steven Barnes-Andrews, Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation, Southampton City Council, said: "The collection rate for the first half of 2020 to 2021 was 52 per cent, and the council also collects council tax on behalf of Hampshire Police and Fire Services.

"There have been delayed payments for some residents, to later in the financial year due to Covid-19.

"There have also been reduced Council Tax bills for working age local council tax support claimants, who have benefitted from a £150 reduction under a Government funded support scheme, in recognition of the impact of Covid-19."

The IFS says some councils allow people to defer bills, so their receipts for the second half of the year may be much higher.

However, it warned that councils across England expect to collect £1.3 billion less council tax this year than they forecast, with some areas suffering more than others.

Differences in the amount of council tax collected over the first half of 2020-21 vary regionally.

The figure fell by 1.4 per cent in London compared to the same period a year earlier, but rose by 1.7 per cent in the South West.

In the South East, it rose by 1.7 per cent – but the IFS said any increases were still substantially smaller than was expected before the Covid-19 crisis.