CASH-strapped Worcestershire Council Council has welcomed news that the government is to make an extra £1.6billion in additional funding available to local authorities as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The County – like local authorities across the country – has been forced to trim its services over the last few years caught between a dwindling central government grant and the burgeoning cost of providing adult social care services.
In Worcestershire the cost of dealing with coronavirus has added considerably to the burden, despite an initial government handout.
Last week the Local Government Association warned that the cost of dealing with coronavirus coupled with the loss of income suffered by local authorities having to close down facilities was pushing councils to the brink of bankruptcy.
Councillor Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, warned: “Many councils are facing increased cost and demand pressures at the same time as seeing a significant drop in income. This is unsustainable and pushing councils towards financial failure.
“It is good that the Government has moved to provide some financial help to councils.
“Additional funding is urgently needed to help councils get through this crisis, support the vulnerable and adapt to life once we defeat this virus when our local services will be needed more than ever to help communities rebuild.
“It would be wrong and unacceptable if councils are then forced to make further cutbacks to the very services that will have helped the nation through this crisis.”
Coun Simon Geraghty, the Leader of Worcestershire County Council said: “The additional £1.6bn is welcome.
“Our costs cover so many different areas, from care to food supply, from PPE to waste disposal and from sourcing additional beds to making sure key workers can get nursery placements for their children to enable those parents to work on the front line.
“This is a tremendous effort from so many people, our staff, our providers, our partners and our communities.”