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Council Leader requests more funding for coronavirus response

Published Tuesday, 24 March 2020

The Leader of the council, Cllr Aspden, has written to Ministers to underline the need for further funding, including for councils, individuals and businesses, to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

Having declared a major incident locally, City of York Council is prioritising all available resources to support residents and businesses across the city, particularly vulnerable residents, but the funding announced by the Government to date is not expected to cover the essential actions being taken by the Council to respond to the outbreak.

The Government has announced £1.6bn of emergency funding to local authorities to support response efforts. In York, this will be less than £5m. Initial estimates from the increased demand on services, additional activities and loss of income, is estimated to be in the region of £20 million.

Cllr Aspden, Leader of the City of York Council, said:

“The Government’s announced £1.6bn of emergency funding to local authorities is necessary and welcome. However, the scale of this crisis means that the funding allocated to York, and other councils, is insufficient to support our communities’ and business needs over the coming months. It is quite clear that we require significantly more funding swiftly, as well as further legislation to relax borrowing rules, in order to allow us to do whatever is necessary to protect residents, communities and our local economy.

Locally, we have already committed to creating a local emergency fund to support our residents and businesses, and more detail will follow on that fund this week.  We have also moved Council resources to establish new volunteer and help hotlines, so we can focus our efforts on supporting the most vulnerable in the city.

“Moving forward, it is important that we know the additional costs of our response to coronavirus will not affect the council’s longer-term financial stability, which is already under significant pressure from increasing children and adult social care demand.  That is why I have written to the Secretary of State to urge the Government to make more funding available faster, in order to enable us to focus all our efforts in responding to the threat posed by coronavirus.”