Government pledges extra £1.6 billion for councils
Councils across England will receive another £1.6 billion in additional funding as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic
• Councils across England will receive a further £1.6 billion to help them to deal with the immediate impacts of coronavirus
• This takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion
• Over 5,400 vulnerable rough sleepers helped off the streets and from communal shelters during pandemic
• Local Government Secretary has written to all councils praising the ‘unsung heroes’
• This will mean an extra £300 million for the devolved administrations, £155 million for Scotland, £95 million for Wales and £50 million for Northern Ireland
Councils across England will receive another £1.6 billion in additional funding as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the Local Government Secretary has announced today (18 April 2020).
This extra £1.6 billion takes the total given to councils to help their communities through this crisis to over £3.2 billion, an unprecedented level of additional financial support in recent times.
The funding will mean councils can continue to provide essential services and support to those who need it most.
This includes getting rough sleepers off the street, supporting new shielding programmes for clinically extremely vulnerable people and assistance for our heroic public health workforce and fire and rescue services.
The funding will also mean councils can provide vital services including adult social care and children’s services.
This announcement follows an initial £1.6 billion given to councils last month which supported the work they have done to free up vital hospital beds and deliver essential supplies to the vulnerable.
This has also helped get rough sleepers off the street and so far over 90% of those on the streets at the beginning of the crisis and known to local authorities - have been offered safe accommodation.
Additional funding announced today will mean councils will be able to continue to support the most vulnerable people on the streets during the pandemic, deal with immediate pressures and provide additional support across a range of vital services.
Making the announcement today, 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 them 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."
The funding is the latest support announced by the government for communities.
The government is delivering essential supplies to extremely medically vulnerable people in England. The packages, which are being left on people’s doorsteps, contain essential food and household items such as pasta fruit, tea bags, tinned goods and biscuits for those who need to self-isolate at home but have no support network of family or friend to help them.
Over 250,000 boxes have now been delivered, by next week we are on track to deliver nearly 300,000 more, in an operation of the scale not seen since the Second World War.
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.
Last week, the Chancellor announced a £750 million package of support for charities.
The government will continue to work with councils over the coming weeks to ensure they are managing as the pandemic progresses.
The Barnett consequentials mean an extra £300 million for the devolved administration, £155 million for Scotland, £95 million for Wales and £50 million for Northern Ireland.
The money will be paid through a grant that is not ring-fenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how this funding is spent.
Allocations to individual local authorities will follow as soon as practicable.
The government has brought forward a number of measures to support councils during the pandemic. This includes:
• An initial £1.6 billion of funding announced for councils last month: £2.9 billion funding to strengthen care for the vulnerable
• The relaxation of restrictions around supermarket deliveries
• The postponement of local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections until May next year
• Temporary suspension of routine Care Quality Commission inspections for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak
• Councils are able to use their discretion on deadlines for Freedom of Information requests
• Deadline for local government financial audits has been extended
• Legislation brought forward to remove the requirement for annual council meetings to take place in person, and to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually: Robert Jenrick reaffirms support for councils in their coronavirus response
• The government has also brought forward the payment of social care grants, totalling £850 million, and will delay £2.6 billion in payments to central government: Councils given greater financial relief against cash flow pressures