Bristol Green councillors have joined Green councillors from across the country demanding urgent funding for local authorities to tackle the coronavirus crisis. Green Councillors from 120 councils have signed an open letter to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick to demand emergency and longer-term funding to enable local authorities to continue work to support communities during the crisis.
The letter warns that councils could lose up to half of their spending power this year if the lockdown were to last for just three months. It also calls for local authorities to be given more flexibility to decide on how funds are spent, as they are best-placed to see where the real need is and how it can be tackled.
The Government has since responded to the call, pledging an additional £1 billion for local authorities.
Bristol Green councillor Carla Denyer said:
“We are pleased that the Government has responded to the desperate situation local authorities find themselves in and pledged an additional £1 billion support, but this is nowhere near enough. Councils are the front line response within our communities, supporting the most vulnerable to get food and basic supplies, providing shelter for homeless people and working to support our care sector. We need longer term funding commitments to enable us to keep delivering these crucial services.”
Green Party leader, Sian Berry said:
“Councils are stepping up and providing vital services to our communities. Vulnerable people are relying upon them for a rapid increase in support. But, after a decade of cuts and in the face of lost income as a result of the crisis, budgets are rapidly reaching breaking point.
“We urge the government to act immediately so that we can continue to do this essential work and not add further strain to the NHS and other essential services.”
Green Party councillors are in administration in 17 Councils across the country. One of these, Lewes District Council, is led by Green Party councillor Zoe Nicholson, who commented on the recent Government announcement highlighting its inadequacy by saying,
“Good that Govt is listening to Green Party councillors, @LGAcomms and all councils at the front line of #COVID19 AND if they apply the same formula to this next £1bn @LewesDC will get £20k, who is spending about £40k a week on food packs.”