LCR leaders challenge disappointing funding allocations

Thu, April 30th, 2020

The announcement, made by Ministry of Housing, Communities and...

The Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the Liverpool City Region’s councils have expressed their grave concerns that the government’s second allocation of Covid19 funding could leave the City Region hundreds of millions of pounds out of pocket.

The announcement, made by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), shows that in this second round of funding the government has allocated £16.6 million LESS to the City Region than was promised. This equates to a 28 % reduction, with some areas like Knowsley being hardest hit with a 39% shortfall from its first allocation. This is the fifth highest cut in the whole of the UK, for the borough that is the 2nd most deprived in the country.

In a joint response to the Government, local leaders challenged the methodology, which is based purely on population count as opposed to whether areas actually need extra support. This is a different approach to the first round of funding that recognised the pressures individual areas were facing.

As a result, those areas which need more have lost out, and the impact has been significant across the City Region, specifically when it comes to social care.

From both allocations, the six councils have received £102million, which is less than half of the £239million which they estimate they will need to cope with the impact of COVID-19 over just the next six months.

In addition to this, the Combined Authority is also losing around £1.2million a week - £62million over a year – and has received no additional funding at all as yet, with transport also requiring sustainable funding support.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:

“Local councils and the Combined Authority are on the front line in supporting our communities through this crisis and the government is already relying heavily on them to deliver essential support and services such as; providing PPE, transport, social care and keeping other essential public services running.

“But let’s not forget this pressure comes on top of a decade of austerity, during which local authorities’ budgets have been cut to the bone. Councils have no reserves and little or no flexibility remaining to deal with the impact and pick-up the potentially extreme financial burden.

“This proposed settlement falls way short of what is required and we are now making robust representations to urge the Government to urgently reconsider the funding allocation and provide the support we really need to tackle the crisis now – and to recover from it – together.”

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