Government ‘short’ in promise to cover Covid-19 costs, Slough leader said

SLOUGH has received a funding boost to cover “mounting” Covid-19 costs – but the council leader said the government is “short” in promise.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick recently announced local authorities across England will be allocated over £900 million from the £1 billion additional support announced by the Prime Minister earlier this month.

Mr Jenrick said this funding “will ensure that councils have the resources that they need over the winter and continue to play an essential role on the front line of our response to the virus while protecting the most vulnerable and supporting local businesses”.

Slough Borough Council will receive two tranches from this funding (tranche three and four) which totals around £5.6 million.

READ MORE: Slough enters Tier 2 as Covid-19 cases rise at an ‘alarming rate’

In total, Slough has received nearly £13.3 million from the government – the most in Berkshire – to ease some coronavirus related pressures.

The leader of the council, councillor James Swindlehurst (Labour: Cippenham Green), told the Observer these tranches will be used to offset some of the mounting pressures the council is facing from increased demand for their health and social care services and temporary accommodation due to the pandemic.

Although welcoming the funding boost, Cllr Swindlehurst said: “It is someway short of the government’s promise to cover every pound spent on tackling Covid locally.”

The Observer reported Slough Borough Council may need to save nearly £18 million by 2023/24 due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the council’s income, the borough’s economy, and the “anticipated” growth in demand for adult and children’s services arising from Covid-19.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock confirms Slough enters Tier 2 and promises support ‘all the way through’

Cllr Swindlehurst said: “Our longer-term funding gap, again caused in part due to pandemic effects on income we would have otherwise received, is expected to be significantly lowered or even eliminated through our forward budget setting process which is now underway and will continue until our February budget meetings.”

Royal Borough Observer | News WIndsor