Extra £42.3m to help Norfolk and Suffolk councils respond to coronavirus pandemic

A new distribution centre has been created in Norwich for food and PPE. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

A new distribution centre has been created in Norwich for food and PPE. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

An extra £25.8m has been awarded to councils across Norfolk to help with the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The government announced last week that it would be making £1.6bn more available to local authorities - which are playing key roles in helping communities cope.

And the breakdown of just how much each authority will get has now been revealed, with Norfolk County Council getting the biggest share.

County Hall has been awarded just over £16.7m, which, added to the £26.9m which was awarded in the first tranche of government cash, brings the total to more than £43.6m.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council, had previously said all of the £26.9m awarded before had been spent.He had said he was hoping the council, which has responsibilities for social care and children’s services, would get at least 75pc of that this time around. That would have been £20.2m, so County Hall is some £3m shy of what they hoped.

He said: “This funding is very welcome, however the true cost of this crisis on local government won’t become clear for months to come. We will continue to work with the ministry over the coming months as we see the full impact of COVID-19 on the council emerge.”

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But the district, borough and city council have received bigger shares than last time around. Those councils have responsibilities around housing homeless people, getting food packages to vulnerable people and administering business grants.

West Norfolk received the biggest amount in the second tranche - just over £1.5m, which takes the total it has received to £1.6m.

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Council spokeswoman Sharon Clifton, said: “Any money from the government to assist with our response the COVID-19 crisis is obviously welcome and we are pleased that the district councils received more in the allocation this time round to reflect the work they are doing to help vulnerable and socially isolated individuals within the borough.

“While the money allocated is sufficient to cover our costs at this point in time, the longer the lockdown remains, the more our costs increase and the bigger the impact of lost income streams will be.

“At this stage we don’t know what period this funding is to cover or whether there will be any further funding announcements.

“It is likely that further support from government will be required as we continue in this phase and move towards a new normal.”

Norwich City Council is getting a further £1.4m, pushing its total up to £1.51m.

South Norfolk Council and Breckland Council will each get an extra £1.4m, taking the amount they have received to £1.47m and £1.46m, respectively.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “We are pleased that government has listened to our districts and acted on our call for vital funding, so that we can continue to fight coronavirus, reduce homelessness, protect the vulnerable and collect waste.

“This shows government recognised the incredible work of districts in supporting every family and business. It shows the pivotal role they can play in combating this virus and lead the local recovery in the High Street.”

A further £1.3m is heading Broadland District Council’s way. On top of the £50,000 it had previously received, it takes its total to £1.35m.

Leader Shaun Vincent said: “The increase in funding is very good news for the residents of Broadland and shows the importance of the role played by district councils.

“The extra funding will go some way to help ensure we can keep our vital and most valued services running, while we continue to support residents and businesses in the battle against coronavirus.”

North Norfolk has been told it will get just over £1m more, giving a total of £1.1m, while Great Yarmouth gets a just under £1m, bringing its total to just over £1m.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “Government funding is essential to support councils’ additional expenditure and loss of some normal income during the current response phase and then into recovery and normalisation.

“The financial impact on councils will be significant and this additional government funding is welcome for now, although it is not clear what period of time it is meant to cover.

“There are currently a number of unknowns which will be significant for councils’ funding requirements, including the national plans and timescales for easing social distancing restrictions, what the ‘new normal’ will look like and what additional work councils might have, or continue to have, into the future.”

In Suffolk, the county council will get an extra £13.9m, taking its total to £34.7m, while East Suffolk Council gets just under £2.5m more, bringing its total to £2.6m.

Robert Jenrick, local government secretary, said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with local government and my priority is to make sure they are supported so they can continue to support their communities through this challenging time.”

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