Military being brought in to help councils cope with coronavirus threat

Sir Robert Jenrick. Photo: Submitted

Sir Robert Jenrick. Photo: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Military personnel are being brought in to help councils to respond to the problems caused by coronavirus - and Norfolk council leaders are hoping for a multi-million boost to help with social care.

Local government secretary Sir Robert Jenrick met council leaders this week to announce how the government would support local authorities.

He said he wanted councils to focus their efforts on the priority area of social care, providing vital support for vulnerable people and supporting their local economies.

And that could mean extra cash to help Norfolk County Council in its social care role - as part of the £5bn pot announced in the budget to combat coronavirus.

A county council spokesman said: “The council has plans in place to continue to deliver services to the most vulnerable people, including adults and children who receive support from social care, including on a face-to-face basis.

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“We welcome any additional support with care costs and are awaiting further information from the government.”

Council leader Andrew Proctor said: “There was £5bn announced in the budget and we are just waiting for how that will be divided up.”

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Sir Robert also announced that local resilience forums - such as the Norfolk Resilience Forum - would get help from military personnel to work on their coronavirus response plans.

The request to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is for additional non-uniform personnel to help those forums to support local authority elements of COVID-19 response plans, including social care.

Sir Robert said: “Everyone needs to play their part to help the most vulnerable in society and support their local economy, and the government will do whatever is necessary to support these efforts.”

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, who was among the 300 Mr Jenrick addressed welcomed the government’s moves.

He said councils now had to play a key role in helping volunteers to support their communities.

He said: “We need to co-ordinate volunteer efforts in every parish to ensure the needs of the vulnerable are met and to make sure those efforts are focused where they are needed the most.”

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