OXFORDSHIRE COUNCIL LEADERS CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO HELP EASE FUNDING PRESSURES
Oxfordshire councils have called on the Government for better financial support – not only for their continued Coronavirus response, which will become more significant and expensive in light of the second lockdown announcement, but also to ensure there is enough funding for councils to provide their day-to-day services for communities in the longer term.
In a joint letter to Robert Jenrick MP – Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Oxfordshire council leaders laid out the urgency of securing additional financial help for the communities and businesses they support.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the finances of the councils, which have all had to re-forecast or revise their budgets to reflect the increased expenditure and lost income that Coronavirus has caused. The councils state that this situation cannot continue indefinitely without impacting front-line services.
Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, who led the move to secure essential finances for the councils said: “We have been doing everything we can to help our most vulnerable people through the pandemic while keeping our services running. However, the long-term financial impact of the pandemic on councils will be significant and could be catastrophic.
“We urgently need the government to fulfil their promise to cover our Covid-19 related costs in the short term, and in the medium term they need to get on with the fair funding review that has been repeatedly delayed.
“Without adequate funding, local councils up and down the country will have to make some very difficult decisions about the services we provide in future years.”
On 29 January 2021 Robert Jenrick MP sent a response to the joint letter he received from Oxfordshire leaders in November 2020.