OPINION

Our frontline staff have stepped up so give us the money we need

Posted On 25 Apr 2020 at 5:18 pm

This week I want to begin by thanking council staff, who are on the frontline of the covid-19 crisis.

From providing social care, to schooling the children of key workers, to getting PPE (personal protective equipment) to our NHS staff, ensuring local businesses are receiving grants and delivering key services, they are helping to keep the city running.

They have been doing so under extremely difficult circumstances and we want to ensure that they have the resources they need to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why I have been calling upon the government for assurances of more financial support to help local authorities up and down the country facing extreme costs and pressures as we respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

I know our council, businesses and residents are grateful for the government funding, support and advice we have received as a city so far.

But the costs of securing hotel accommodation for homeless people and rough sleepers, additional PPE and coroner costs is already set to exceed £5 million for the council.

When we come out of this crisis we need to see government offer a permanent solution to people sleeping on our streets.

I will be writing to them with ideas about how we can make life more secure for our rough sleepers and the many hidden homeless people who have been surviving from one night to the next in a hostel or by sofa surfing.

We are facing a significant loss of income, estimated to be between £30 million and £40 million due to the impact of covid-19 on business rates, parking charges, council tax and the closure of museums, event venues and libraries.

I have been on regular calls with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick.

He was clear that we should do whatever it takes to keep people safe – and rightly – so but we were promised we would be fully compensated.

I wrote to him a couple of weeks ago outline the costs we were incurring. I then wrote to the Prime Minister directly to urgently call for more funding for local councils.

I will continue to lobby government for the funds our city needs.

Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

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