Extra £2million to help South Tyneside through pandemic - leader bemoans 'continual sticking plasters'

Councillor Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside CouncilCouncillor Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council
Councillor Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council
South Tyneside Council is set to receive an extra £2million to help tackle the pressures of the coronavirus outbreak.

The funds have been allocated as part of the latest round of government funding to help local authorities meet rising costs and falling income as a result of the pandemic.

South Tyneside will be handed £2,082,645 from a £900million pot distributed to English councils.

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While welcoming the extra funding, councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said a more sustainable solution was needed going forward.

“We welcome the latest announcement about funding coming forward on which we have been lobbying hard,” he said.

“The Government need to put in place a sustainable package of funding over the short and long term to address the severe financial pressures incurred because of the pandemic rather than these continual sticking plasters.

“This should also include proper financial support for our businesses that have been so badly hit by the pandemic.”

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“Councils like ours have played, and continue to play, a vital role in the fight against coronavirus and we, along with our partners, have been working around the clock to keep essential frontline services running, to protect our most vulnerable residents, keep our communities safe and support our local businesses.”

He added: “South Tyneside has already borne the brunt of national budget cuts over the last decade, which meant that even before Covid-19 hit, many of our services were chronically under-funded and overstretched.”

The latest Covid-19 allocations were confirmed on October 22, and will not be ring fenced for specific areas.

However, ministers have requested that the cash is used for supporting “vital services, protecting the most vulnerable and public health.”

In addition, a separate national fund worth £100million has been set up to help struggling leisure centres – with further details to be released.

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Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have backed local councils with the funding they need to support their communities, protect vital services and recover lost income.

“This extra £1billion funding will ensure that councils have the resources that they need over the winter and continue to play an essential role on the front line of our response to the virus while protecting the most vulnerable and supporting local businesses.”

The latest tranche of Covid-19 funding has been allocated based on levels of population and deprivation, whilst also considering the amount of funding each council has received from the Government so far.

South Tyneside Council has now received £13,910,509 across four rounds.

According to the latest budget update, borough bosses are still facing a £2.7million pressure on revenue spending by the end of 2020/21.

The forecasted cost pressure, which was revealed in a report to cabinet earlier in October, is based on net spending between April and June.

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