Consider the risks of terminating COVID support prematurely

By Rob Whiteman | 05 May 2021
  • Rob Whiteman

A year ago, we were six weeks into the strictest curtailment on our civil freedom since the Second World War. Fast forward to today and the Government remains in a challenging position around its response to COVID-19, particularly its allocation of financial support to different sectors. At the 2020 Spending Review, a further £1.55bn of un-ringfenced grants were promised for local authorities, but, currently, additional COVID support beyond June is in doubt. All councils have relied on this funding, which has allowed them to continue to deliver essential services throughout the last year.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government permanent secretary Jeremy Pocklington confirmed there are ‘no plans’ to extend support beyond the end of this quarter, but it’s something that will be kept under ‘continuous review through this financial year’. The uncertainty this poses for councils cannot be underestimated. The loss of income, in addition to the increased demand for services, has placed huge financial burdens on the sector.

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