Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Local Government Responsibilities: Public Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 18th March 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 5:00 pm, 18th March 2020

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. As the Chancellor made clear, we will do whatever is necessary to stand behind our public services, our local authorities and our volunteers to get through this crisis. More announcements will be made in this fast-moving situation, so I ask him to bear with the Government in that regard.

As hon. Members will also be aware, yesterday, my Department announced £3.2 million in initial emergency funding to help rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping to self-isolate to prevent the spread of this virus. The Under-Secretary of State, the homelessness Minister, made that point in his opening remarks; I just wanted to reiterate it to ensure that colleagues who have come into the Chamber more recently have heard it.

A number of Members from across the House raised the question of whether the Government have provided sufficient funding. The first point I would make—I have made it already—is that this situation is changing every day. The Government are responding at pace to the evolving challenges and working closely with the Local Government Association and other local authority representatives to understand the effects of covid-19 on the delivery of statutory services, including social care. The second point is to stress that the announcements that we have made so far, including those from the Chancellor last night, do not signal the end of the Government’s response; they signal its beginning. We stand ready to do more and we will go further as necessary.

A number of colleagues raised the question of our social care workforce, including those who care for the elderly and vulnerable in care homes and in their own homes. Building on our existing strong local relationships, the NHS and local authorities are working with care providers to make sure that people receive the specialised care and support they need during this outbreak. Councils will map out all care and support plans to prioritise people who are at the highest risk and will contact all registered providers in their local area to facilitate plans for mutual aid, and they will do this at pace.