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Redbridge Council tells Government: We want our money

Redbridge Council is calling on Government to repay the £45m shortfall in funds that were promised by Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick in March 2020.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, has highlighted the Government’s broken promise of compensating councils for the cost of Covid-19 and its local response and warned that residents risk losing vital services.

Cllr Athwal has started a petition to remind the Government that they need to repay the £45 ‘black hole’ as promised, and is urging local businesses and residents to sign.

He said:

“The cost of the work we have done to help keep residents safe during the pandemic has been estimated at more than £60m. The Government promised full compensation for these services, but they have since done a U-turn. So far, they have repaid just £15.7m – leaving us with a £45m financial black hole.

“The majority of our expenditure goes towards supporting the most vulnerable in our local community – it is these people that the Government are putting at risk by going back on their word.

“We’re now asking the Government to honour their promise and pay the £45m shortfall they have left us with. We want everyone in the borough to support us – without these funds, the services our residents and businesses value most, social care, libraries, household waste services and leisure facilities, will all be at risk.”

“We took the Government at their word and delivered medication to the vulnerable, food to children who would normally be dependent on school dinners and we found and paid for essential PPE to keep staff and patients in care homes safe.

“It is outrageous that the Government is now withholding almost our entire annual budget for council services, excluding social care, at a time when our residents are really struggling. They must honour their promise to properly compensate us.”

A spokesperson for Redbridge Council told PSE that they are one of the lowest funded councils in London, yet one of the highest performing in the country, and in real terms, the Government shortfall is equivalent to almost the entire net revenue budget for all council services (excluding social care).

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