The leader of Greenwich Council has accused the Government of managing the coronavirus pandemic by “press release”, saying a lack of clarity over Boris Johnson’s new plans is heaping further pressure onto local authorities.

It comes as senior Greenwich councillors prepare to discuss the first report detailing the financial impact of coronavirus on the authority – with the document revealing the borough faces a funding blackhole worth “tens of millions of pounds”.

While the authority has already received £17.1m in emergency funding from the Government, leader Dan Thorpe revealed the latest financial briefings suggested “almost all of it was already gone”

“Suffice to say, we are burning through it,” the Labour head said, adding “much, much more is going to be needed” as the council plots out the long-term recovery from the crisis.

“It’s a very worrying time financially for the council, particularly because the Government hasn’t always been clear on what is happening,” he said.

Cllr Thorpe said new roles likely to be picked up by council – including co-ordinating a return to schools in the borough, and administrating testing in care homes – would add further pressures on local authorities which have already navigated a decade of austerity-reduced Government funding.

A lack of prior briefing on Government advice was adding to frustrations. “We’re sick and tired of management of the pandemic by press release,” he said.

He appealed to the Government to better include councils in the national advice, saying: “Let’s have a conversation”.

“Over this crisis we’ve proved how essential councils are. The tension comes from when we don’t feel we’re informed,” he said, adding he wasn’t aware of any council leaders being briefed on the altered lockdown measures before the Prime Minister’s briefing on Sunday.

The lack of warning would have a knock-on impact on councils and businesses, he said – highlighting how confusion over messaging could result in thousands of residents flocking to the borough’s parks to take advantage of newly-relaxed rules allowing households to see a single person from another home in an open setting.

“Parks are really important – if we get thousands of people heading to parks this weekend, the public will expect council to help regulate that and, in terms of resources, there’s no way we could do that now,” he said.

It comes as a report on the financial impact of the virus is set to be discussed at a May 18 meeting of Greenwich’s cabinet.

According to the report, additional expenses, lost income and foregone savings is likely to add up to “tens of millions of pounds”.

The report states “it now appears that the government will not meet this gap pound for pound, but will concentrate on the costs of those functions it has specifically requested to be undertaken”, with the authority left to pick up the tab.

Among the financial pressures outlined are a predicted £2m shortfall on parking fee income, for the first three months of 2020/21 alone.