Government’s ‘bungled response to the pandemic’ adds to council’s cash problems

The Government’s “bungled response to the pandemic” has meant that local councils have had to step in to fill the gaps, adding to cash flow problems they already faced, created by the Government, says Ruth Cadbury.

Speaking during a debate in Parliament on Monday 25 January, the MP for Brentford and Isleworth criticised the Government over its continued cuts to local government funding.

She said LB Hounslow council has seen an 80% reduction in their Government grant funding since 2010, on top of the added costs of support relating to Covid-19. Ruth also said these cuts are forcing councillors to have to make ‘incredibly hard decisions’.

In a statement after the debate, Ruth said:

‘‘Local councils like Hounslow have faced year after year of cuts to their central government grant, while demands such as social care have grown.

“On top of that Hounslow has had a funding hole as a result of the coronavirus- made up of £20m of added support costs, and millions in lost income.

“At the start of the pandemic the Government told Councils they could spend “whatever it takes” to support their communities through the crisis, but Hounslow has only received some funding and a significant gap remains.

“The Government’s bungled response to the pandemic has meant that local councils have had to step in to fill the gaps too. Hounslow Council funded a free school meal program over the half term, a community hub to support vulnerable and shielding residents, and is providing 700 laptops to ensure local students could learn from home, and direct funding to residents who fall through the gaps of the national support schemes.

“I will keep urging the Government to give our local councils the funding they need.’’

For Ruth’s statement to the Commons in full, click here.

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