At the time of writing, we are entering the fifth week of the coronavirus lockdown, with the Government having just extended it for at least three more weeks.
I am delighted that collaborative working with the Government has resulted in several positive announcements for the sector recently. Indeed, just as first was going to press, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP announced an additional £1.6 billion in funding for councils, meaning that local government has received more than £3.2 billion to deal with the coronavirus.
“Local government has received more than £3.2 billion to deal with the coronavirus”
I would like to record my thanks to Robert and his team for their regular engagement with me and LGA colleagues, which has resulted in other important announcements such as the guidance on holding council meetings remotely and the deferral of £2.6 billion in business rates payments over the next three months.
Looking forward, I believe that it will be important for us to gather evidence of all the costs that we have incurred as a result of the pandemic, while also focusing on how we will support our communities and local businesses during the recovery phase.
Finally, I would like to once again thank you – members and officers – for all you are doing to support your communities throughout this extremely difficult time, and in particular to acknowledge the work of local resilience forums, which have made key decisions quickly and worked collaboratively with other agencies.
As the Queen said, we will succeed in the fight against coronavirus and we will meet again.