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Local Authorities: Additional Funding for Covid-19

Volume 681: debated on Monday 5 October 2020

What steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities receive adequate funding for additional costs related to the covid-19 outbreak. (907016)

We have provided local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, including £4.8 billion funding for spending pressures, £3.7 billion in un-ring-fenced grants, and £1.1 billion for the infection control fund. We have also introduced a co-payment scheme to help councils recoup irrecoverable losses in sales fees and charges. In total, we have committed over £28 billion to local areas to support councils, businesses and their communities since the start of the pandemic.

All of which is welcome, but last week the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority called for a comprehensive Government-backed package to deal with the problems for the local economy that will be caused by the introduction of the latest covid-19 measures. Today, the combined authority and the Metro Mayor announced a £40 million welcome package to support local businesses and jobs. Will the Minister agree to hold an urgent meeting with local MPs, the combined authority and the Metro Mayor to discuss what further assistance the Government can provide to support our local economy?

The right hon. Gentleman will be fully aware that Knowsley has received £30 million in additional un-ring-fenced spending to deal with pressures resulting from the pandemic, on top of the £10 million increase in its core spending power this financial year. More widely, Knowsley received £51 million to support councils, businesses and the community. He will be interested to know that to prepare for local outbreaks we have provided a £300 million grant to all upper tier authorities to develop strong and effective local outbreak plans. In relation to ongoing engagement, I met the Mayor of Greater Manchester last week and I believe he is meeting the Secretary of State tomorrow. We are, of course, happy to continue those discussions.