Councils are to receive an extra £1.6bn in funding to deal with the coronavirus crisis, communities secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.
Making the announcement, Mr Jenrick said: ‘Today’s announcement of an additional £1.6bn of new funding to councils means we have now provided them with over £3.2bn 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.’
Local Government Association chief executive, Cllr James Jamieson, said councils were doing an amazing job.
‘We are pleased the Government continues to recognise the huge efforts councils and our staff are making and has responded quickly to our deep concerns about the financial strains being placed on them by providing more desperately-needed new funding.
‘Alongside previous money and measures, this will this give councils breathing space.’
He welcomed the secretary of state’s commitments to give councils all the resources they need to cope with the pandemic, but added: ‘This commitment needs to be rock solid and consistent so councils can stay focused on leading the local response to the greatest challenge we have faced as a nation for decades.’
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) chief executive Rob Whiteman also welcomed the extra cash as councils face the dual pressures of high demand and plummeting income.
‘Today’s welcome news is a step in the right direction but more will be needed to ensure councils can maintain services in areas such as adult social care, homelessness and for other vulnerable groups.’