Calderdale’s Labour council leader Tim Swift has promised to leave no stones unturned as he seeks to ensure that the Council gets the financial help it needs from central Government in tackling the Coronavirus crisis.
Cllr Swift, who wrote to Prime Minster Boris Johnson and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick before a second tranche of Government funding was announced, said the help so far is welcome but does not provide the certainty Calderdale and other councils need to avoid a crisis over the summer.
“Local councillors, alongside our partners in the NHS, the police and the ambulance service, are bearing the brunt of safeguarding our communities through this crisis. Our staff have responded brilliantly, changing what they are doing to address emerging needs, and we have taken on trust the Government’s statement that we should spend whatever we need to support our local community. The government need to make good on that clear commitment.
“At the same time as spending much more on tasks such as increased social care, shielding the vulnerable and supporting the homeless, the council’s income is falling dramatically.
“If current trends continue we estimate that over the next financial year we will face a deficit of £36 million. The additional Government support so far only amounts to about one third of this.
“That’s why we urgently need clarity from Government about what will happen next. Already some major cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool are warning that they face financial ruin. It cannot be right that we have to wait for councils to be in crisis before the Government sets out their future plans for supporting local services.
“As the lockdown is slowly lifted, the everyday council services that people rely on should be there to support local people. Right now we cannot properly plan ahead – we need Government to deliver on their pledge and tell us clearly how they are going to support councils like Calderdale.
"We will leave no stone unturned in our fight to make sure Calderdale gets the funding it needs from Government" Cllr Tim Swift - Leader, Calderdale MBC