Covid-19: Local Authority Support

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 16th November 2020.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Labour, Hemsworth

What assessment he has made of the adequacy of support given to local authorities in areas with high covid-19 infection rates.

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Councils’ self-reported figures suggest that local authorities spent an additional £3.6 billion through September as a result of covid. Since the start of the pandemic, we have provided over £7.2 billion directly to councils and are now providing new funding for national restrictions. I hope the hon. Gentleman will also welcome the additional funding of over £40 million that Wakefield Council has received to support its community so far this year.

Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Labour, Hemsworth

Austerity impacted most on the poorer communities right across the north and elsewhere. In Wakefield alone we have lost almost £50 million from local care services, schools, youth support and child services, not to mention the wage freezes for key workers. The impact of covid in damaging community resilience is apparent to all. Is it not time for the Minister to show that he has learned lessons by restoring funding to those communities in difficulty from the cuts and finally giving a rise to the key workers who have done so much to keep our country going?

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I am surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman speak like that about local authority when he supported and voted for the local government finance settlement this year. As I said, since the start of the pandemic we have provided £7.2 billion in funding. Wakefield has received £31 million across four tranches of unring-fenced funding, the last including deprivation, population and cost driver indicators, too. It has also received £2 million for test and trace, £7 million from the infection control fund and more than £40 million in additional grants. As the hon. Gentleman failed to do so, may I use this opportunity again to recognise the incredible work of councils, who have been dynamic and energetic in responding to an incredibly difficult period?