Government pledges extra £1.6bn funding for councils

Government pledges extra £1.6bn funding for councils

On Saturday (18th April), government announced that councils across England would receive another £1.6bn in additional funding as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. “We are pleased the Government continues to recognise the huge efforts councils and our staff are making,” says the LGA.

The extra £1.6bn announced by government takes the total given to councils to help their communities through this crisis to over £3.2bn, an unprecedented level of additional financial support in recent times.

The funding will mean councils can continue to provide essential services and support to those who need it most. This includes getting rough sleepers off the street, supporting new shielding programmes for clinically extremely vulnerable people and assistance for our heroic public health workforce and fire and rescue services. The funding will also mean councils can provide vital services including adult social care and children’s services.

This announcement follows an initial £1.6bn given to councils last month, which supported the work they have done to free up vital hospital beds and deliver essential supplies to the vulnerable.

This has also helped get rough sleepers off the street and so far over 90% of those on the streets at the beginning of the crisis and known to local authorities — have been offered safe accommodation.

The additional funding announced will mean councils will be able to continue to support the most vulnerable people on the streets during the pandemic, deal with immediate pressures and provide additional support across a range of vital services.

Robert Jenrick has written to all councils in England to thank them for their continued efforts as they work around the clock to support their residents.

In his letter, the Local Government Secretary called them the ‘unsung heroes’ of the coronavirus response who are helping to keep the country moving by ensuring vulnerable people receive the care they need and essential services continue.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:  “An additional £1.6bn of new funding to councils means we have now provided them with over £3.2bn during this pandemic.

“I promised local government would have the resources they need to meet this challenge and today demonstrates my commitment to doing just that. We stand shoulder to shoulder with local government and my priority is to make sure they are supported so they can continue to support their communities through this challenging time.

“Up and down the country council workers are the unsung heroes as we tackle this virus. They are in the front line of the national effort to keep the public safe and deliver the services people need. Never has this been more important and we are all rightly grateful for everything that they are doing.

“This new funding will support them through immediate pressures they are facing to respond to coronavirus and protect vital services.”

Councils will also be allowed to defer £2.6bn in payments to central government, and £850m in social care grants will be paid up front this month in a move aimed at helping to ease immediate pressures on local authority cash flows.

The Government will continue to work with councils over the coming weeks to ensure they are managing as the pandemic progresses.

LGA response to extra funding for councils
Responding to the announcement of extra funding for councils, Local Government Association Chairman Cllr James Jamieson said: “Councils across the country are leading efforts to support communities through the unprecedented coronavirus crisis we face. They continue to do an amazing job.

“We are pleased the Government continues to recognise the huge efforts councils and our staff are making and has responded quickly to our deep concerns about the financial strains being placed on them by providing more desperately-needed new funding. Alongside previous money and measures, this will give councils breathing space.

“It is also reassuring that the Secretary of State has reiterated his promise today that councils will get all the resources they will need to cope with this pandemic. This commitment needs to be rock solid and consistent so councils can stay focused on leading the local response to the greatest challenge we have faced as a nation for decades.

“The pressures facing councils are significant, wide-ranging and vary from place to place and this funding will need to reach all councils. It is good that councils will be able to decide locally how best to spend it on the specific pressures they face in their local area.”

Header image ©EtiAmmos/AdobeStock.

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