Coronavirus: £38m earmarked to keep people safe

ALMOST £38m has now been earmarked to help Staffordshire County Council keep people safe, protect the most vulnerable and ease pressure on frontline care services during the coronavirus pandemic. Leader Philip Atkins says the funding is helping the council ease immediate pressure, particularly on the care sector and providing a lifeline to those who need some additional support to help them through the crisis, but warned uncertain times still lie ahead. Coun Atkins said: "From the outset of the pandemic, we have said we will do everything it takes and spend every pound we need to in order to support the care sector, the vulnerable and local businesses and we welcome this new funding from Government to help us do this." To date the county council has: * Agreed an extra £13.6m for care homes and providers to help cover staff absence, costs of care packages and buying Personal Protective Equipment for staff on the frontline; * A £500,000 fund to provide grants to micro-businesses across Staffordshire; * Delivered more than 1,000 food parcels to the most vulnerable self-isolators; * Launched I Count campaign to allow council employees to switch roles to support the coronavirus efforts; * Launched I Care campaign to bolster frontline care in people’s homes – almost 200 people have now been trained; * Offered extra support to care leavers and foster carers; * Provided support to nursery care/childminders to stay open for key workers; * Put arrangements in place to pay suppliers promptly and in some cases in advance to assist the local economy. The county council has been awarded £15.4m in addition to the £22.3m already pledged by the Government to help towards the council’s efforts to manage the pandemic. While the additional funding was welcomed, the County Council Network, which represents county councils, had warned that spending is outstripping funding and that three or four times the original national funding of £1.6bn will be required. The county council has already said that due to the coronavirus response there is a risk that at least £10 million of savings included in its 2020/21 budget will not be delivered. This, together with additional costs arising from the crisis, could well result in an overall financial impact in excess of £50m. Coun Atkins added: "Although the country may have reached the peak of the coronavirus, there is much hard work to be done in Staffordshire and the impact on many families, many businesses and the economy in Staffordshire is likely to stretch well beyond the end of this pandemic. "That’s why as a county council we are focusing not only on the immediate response, but are planning now on how together with partners, residents and businesses, we will rebuild our county, our communities and our economy once again.”


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