'Too early to tell' if councils need more cash, says Jenrick

By Heather Jameson | 07 May 2020

It is ‘too early to tell’ if councils will need more cash to tackle coronavirus, communities secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

Speaking at the daily press briefing in Downing Street, Mr Jenrick assured local authorities the Government would ‘stand behind them to ensure they have the resources they need’ to tackle coronavirus’.

He claimed the government believed the £3.2bn emergency funding handed over, in addition to the ‘very generous settlement’ councils had this year, was ‘sufficient to meet the crisis.’

‘If further resources are required to meet the COVID related costs we have asked councils to bear, then obviously we will take that into consideration in the future.’

He added: ‘We will work with you to better understand in the weeks and months ahead the true impact on your finances.’

His comments follow his appearance at the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on Monday, where he was clear that Government would only pay for the services they had handed down to local authorities. 'We wouldn’t want anyone to labour under a false impression that what they were doing is guaranteed to be funded by central government,’ he said.

Mr Jenrick’s appearance at the Number 10 press conference also saw him reiterate the Government’s commitment to the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

‘Every local economy now needs a plan to re-start and recover,’ he said.

‘As we look ahead to supporting businesses as they are able to re-open, my department will lead our work on how our local economies can adapt, evolve, recover and grow.

‘I will continue to support mayors and local government leaders, who will play critical roles in this work.’

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Local economies Whitehall Finance Economic growth Coronavirus

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