Cabinet members at West Lancashire Borough Council have expressed their anger at the latest funding package intended to help local authorities deliver the additional services needed to address Covid-19.
In his latest announcement, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP confirmed the allocation of £1 billion funding for councils to meet the cost of Covid-19, however the funding formula means that West Lancashire Borough Council will receive less than £400 thousand of this money.
Cabinet Member for Resources & Transformation, Cllr Adam Yates said, “This failure of funding is an insult to local authorities in England and to our communities.
“It is estimated that councils collectively are running a deficit of £8 billion, through loss of income and the increased costs of addressing Covid-19, which is on top of the continuing cuts already made to local government funding through the government’s austerity programme.
“Back in March, Robert Jenrick stated that the “government stands with local councils at this difficult time,” and that, “Everyone needs to play their part to help the most vulnerable in society and support their local economy, and the government will do whatever is necessary to support these efforts.” The cost of Covid-19 to West Lancashire Borough Council is currently £1.7m million, so this funding still leaves us with a significant deficit of £1.4 million. It is now abundantly clear that the government is failing to honour its promise and is leaving councils to deal with the shortfall themselves.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Moran added, “Our officers have worked tirelessly throughout the crisis to maintain service levels, and to help and support residents and businesses across our communities.
“To be offered such a small sum to support these efforts shows how little concern this government has for communities in the North.
“We are also being asked to take on extra responsibilities with local Track & Trace after the £12 billion failure of the national system, money that could have been much better used to fund local authorities in supporting residents.”