MAYOR of Hackney Philip Glanville has called for further Government support for the Council’s coronavirus response after forecasts showed existing funding would cover less than half of vital frontline services.
“While the Government’s latest funding announcement at the weekend was welcome, ministers must renew that clear commitment that they made at the start and promise to back our staff delivering vital social care, waste and other services during this crisis – not just with platitudes, but with money,” he said.
Additional costs of delivering essential adult and children’s social care, education and support for homeless families during the pandemic, as well as maintaining other services like waste collections, could reach around £36million in the next three months alone.
The borough is expected to receive only £17m from emergency Government support announced so far, with millions being invested in social care, support for rough sleepers, an emergency food delivery programme – and grants, rebates, hardship funds and voluntary sector rent suspensions already being applied as part of the Council’s support packages for residents and businesses.
Philip Glanville chairing the first online meeting of Hackney Council’s Cabinet on 22 April 2020
The forecasts were explained in a report agreed by an emergency meeting of the Council’s Cabinet onApril 22, which also earmarked investment in frontline services this year to help the fight against coronavirus, including:
£7m for adult social care to support vulnerable residents
£4m for education and children’s social care services
£1.6m for homelessness work, including emergency accommodation for rough sleepers
Over £5m on in Council Tax reductions and emergency support for families in hardship
A £100,000 hardship fund for migrants and refugees who do not have access to welfare or other support under Government rules.
Mayor Glanville said: “At the start of the pandemic councils like Hackney were told by the Government to ‘spend whatever it takes’ to respond to the crisis.
“In Hackney, we have rightly been committing millions of pounds of funding to respond to the coronavirus crisis and ensure support is available to residents and businesses – often in advance of receiving any money or guidance from the Government and while experiencing deep falls in income.
“Our incredible hard-working staff are also filling gaps in Government provision, including topping up and delivering emergency food parcels to self-isolating individuals and families, as well as supporting colleagues in the NHS and local care homes.
“We’re doing that because it’s the right thing to do – supporting families in need, voluntary sector organisations helping at the frontline and businesses struggling to survive because of the effects of the pandemic – but also because ministers have repeatedly promised that our work would be fully funded.
“This report highlights the impact not keeping that promise would have, and the sheer financial cost of responding to the pandemic, alongside the tragedy of lives lost and families torn apart.
“While the Government’s latest funding announcement at the weekend was welcome, ministers must renew that clear commitment that they made at the start and promise to back our staff delivering vital social care, waste and other services during this crisis – not just with platitudes, but with money.”