03.07.20

Councils react to Government’s £500m support package

The Government announced a range of support measures for councils yesterday (July 2), including £500m in additional funding, payment deferral, and 75p compensation for every pound lost over 5% of planned income.

Since the announcement, local authorities have been reacting to the news, welcoming the cash injection but expressing overall dissatisfaction with how far the package goes.

London Councils’ Chair Cllr Peter John, said the funding was “wholly inadequate” and “disappointing”, before calling for ‘further, more substantial measures to support the recovery of local economies and local services’, when the Chancellor makes his statement next week.

Adding that it was "another short-term stopgap solution rather than the comprehensive package that was promised. It does not reflect the tough financial realities facing London local government."

Redbridge Council, who last week launched a petition reminding Government to pay the £45m they were ‘owed’, also released a statement in response.

Leader Cllr Jas Athwal said:

“We welcome the government’s recognition of the work we do but it must avoid providing piecemeal funding in dribs and drabs. Local people and their councils deserve sustainable funding agreements over successive years so we can plan for the best possible future for Redbridge.

 “In just a few days, thousands signed our petition asking the government to repay the funds promised to the people of Redbridge as we managed the impact of Covid-19. I would urge the government to keep their word and honour that promise to local people. The funding we’re asking to be paid back is critical to continue delivering services which can be the difference between life and death in the middle of a pandemic.”

Whilst also noting that the Local Government Association have estimated the financial strain on councils will reach £7.2bn this year, and with Government’s combined funding of £4.3bn nationally, it still leaves a funding gap of £2.9bn.

LISTEN: Ep. 20 CELEBRATING LEADERSHIP THROUGH A CRISIS - CLLR SARAH ROUSE

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