Leader urges government to provide more financial aid

Published May 19, 2020 at 14:46

The leader of Rossendale Council is once again urging the government to fully reimburse the cost of dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Council has received emergency funding, that while welcome, does not fully make up for the loss of income or the additional cost incurred in responding and recovering from the emergency.

In a report to be discussed by Cabinet next week, chief executive Neil Shaw outlines how the Council has responded to the crisis as well as setting out starkly the cost.

The report says: “The speed and scale of the Covid 19 outbreak and its impact on local communities has been unprecedented. The council has managed the emergency response phase of the pandemic well to date but needs to remain vigilant. The short term financial impact on cash flow is significant.

“Despite additional Government funding for 2020/21 the council will currently experience a significant revenue funding shortfall.

“The council needs to continue to lobby….for sufficient Government funding to both replace lost revenue income (currently estimated in the region of £200,000-300,000) and to manage the additional cost of recovery (currently estimated at £116,000). ”

Councillor Alyson Barnes said:

Councils like Rossendale have been at the forefront of the coronavirus response. We have managed to keep essential services going, protected the most vulnerable, supported our business and provided leadership for our areas. Our staff have risen to the challenge as key workers.

 “For example, we quickly set up Rossendale Connected which has supported hundreds of our borough’s  most socially or clinically vulnerable residents to determine what help they need to get through the crisis. We have quickly processed millions of pounds’ worth of business grants to support our local businesses through these very challenging times.

 “It is testament to our staff and our partners that we have managed to deliver so much during this unprecedented emergency.

 “We shouldn’t be punished for meeting the coronavirus challenge head on or providing the leadership areas like ours need when such emergencies happen.​

“I would urge the government to really fulfil their promises of “whatever it takes” and support local authorities and their staff who have been among the real heroes of tackling this awful virus.”

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