Government pledges £1.6 billion cash boost for local councils in fight against coronavirus
Local councils are set to receive an additional £1.6 billion of cash to help them in the fight against coronavirus.
The Local Government secretary Robert Jenrick MP has today (Saturday, April 18) announced the additional funding as councils continue to respond to the immediate impact of the pandemic.
This announcement takes the total amount of cash which has been pledged to councils to help their communities through the crisis to over £3.2 billion, following an initial £1.6 billion announced last month.
The new funding expected to allow local authorities to continue to provide essential services and support to those who need it most - including getting more than 5,400 rough sleepers off the streets during the crisis.
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It will go towards new shielding programmes for clinically extremely vulnerable people and assistance for public health workers and emergency services.
The cash boost will also mean councils can continue to provide vital support including adult social care and children’s services.
The first £1.6 billion was announced in March to help local authorities free up hospital beds and deliver supplies to vulnerable residents.
More than 90% of rough sleepers are said to have now been offered safe accommodation, but homeless charities have raised concerns that thousands could still be on the streets.
Today’s announcement will help council’s to continue to support the most vulnerable people in getting off the streets and out of communal shelters.
Making the announcement, 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 council workers 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: “Today's announcement of an additional £1.6 billion of new funding to councils means we have now provided them with over £3.2 billion 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 £2.6 billion in payments to central government and £850 million 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.
More than 250,000 boxes of essential supplies have now been delivered to those classed as extremely vulnerable.