Birmingham MP attacks government cuts

Birmingham City Council faces a cut in emergency pandemic government funding.

Birmingham City Council has been handed a £7 million cut in the emergency funding it has received from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as it tries to tackle the coronavirus.

Councils in areas of deprivation, including Birmingham City Council, have been handed a £126 million cut overall after the second payment of emergency funding made by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary to fight Covid-19, despite many having the highest infection rates in the country, according to analysis from the Local Government Association Labour Group.

According to the cross-party Local Government Association, councils in England are facing a total financial black hole of between £10 and £13 billion because of the cost pressures of fighting Covid-19, such as the sourcing of Personal Protective Equipment, and from lost income and savings opportunities. So far, the government has allocated just £3.2 billionn to councils to help them through the crisis.

The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the Government “would stand behind councils and give them the funding they need” but has since suggested that councils will not be fully reimbursed for all their Covid-related costs.

Labour has warned that the black hole, if not filled, could see councils have to cut essential services like adult and children’s social care face cuts by over 20% to stave off bankruptcy.

Vice-President of the Local Government Association and Birmingham Edgbaston MP, Preet Kaur Gill (above), said: “At the start of this crisis Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick was clear that councils should spend whatever it takes to keep our communities safe and were assured that they would receive reimbursement from the government. But ministers are now back-tracking, leaving councils facing a £10 billion funding gap.

“After ten years of cuts to local government budgets, local authorities are unable to share the burden of the financial cost of the crisis, as some ministers have suggested. Councils have a total projected financial pressure in the year 2020/21 arising from the impact of Covid-19, including cost pressures, lost income and savings opportunities, of between £10 and £13 billion – so far the government has allocated just £3.2 billion.

“With growing pressures on our councils and the essential services they run, it is vital that the government does not to back down on its pledge. If the government breaks its word to councils on funding, it will be the most vulnerable in our communities, and the workers who are giving so much to support them, who will suffer most.”