REBUILDING of community centres and sprucing up tennis courts are some of the big projects Oxford City Council will put 'on pause' to address its coronavirus funding gap.

The city council has spent an extra £1.5 million since the pandemic started, and has lost out on £9.6 million of income.

It has received £1.6 million funding from central government to help cover its coronavirus losses.

But as the council's cabinet met on Wednesday night, councillor Tom Hayes described the lack of financial help councils had received during the pandemic as 'ridiculous'.

To help balance the books, the city council cabinet agreed 'mitigating actions' as part of a quarterly financial review which included postponing the building of a new Bullingdon Community Centre, which was projected to cost the council £1.26 million due to start earlier this year, as the old building had become unsafe

A £1.57 million set of works to East Oxford Community Centre and an extension on the side of the building were also delayed.

A rolling programme of tennis court refurbishment will also be paused for now.

All of this will help the council to free up money in case it suddenly finds it needs to spend it on problems caused by the coronavirus.

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But a series of measures costing £60,000 to encourage people to take up cycling will still go ahead, after initial suggestions it should be paused too.

The cabinet agreed this change after the council's finance and performance panel pointed out that cycling had seen a massive uptake during the pandemic, and is currently being seen as a means to get people to work without using buses.

The council will also lobby central government so it can 'capitalise' its coronavirus spending.

All councils have two main pots of money called their capital and revenue budgets.

The extra spending and losses due to the coronavirus is currently designated as revenue money, or every day maintenance spending.

But the council wants to use its savings, known as reserves, which are part of the capital budget, to pay for the coronavirus spending.

A strategy for how the council will ease itself out of lockdown was also agreed.

This sets out preparations for returning staff to working from its offices at St Aldates, as well as how the council can continue to help rough sleepers who have been brought in off the streets as a result of lockdown.