Covid has cost Lambeth £69m. Now we need the support the government promised us.
Covid has cost Lambeth £69m. Now we need the support the government promised us.

Cllr Andy Wilson is the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance and a councillor in Larkhall ward. 

This Wednesday, the Chancellor will set out his Spending Review. There will be some really important things in there, as well as the usual smoke and mirrors and eye-catching announcements, but when it comes to local services here’s what to look out for for our area.

Covid has cost our council £69m as we invest more in things like PPE and supporting the most vulnerable in our community.

Now, back at the start of the crisis, the Local Government Secretary promised to give local councils like ours whatever they need to tackle the pandemic. But just a few weeks later, he seemed to change his mind. Today, the government has covered just a fraction of the cost leaving local authorities like ours billions of pounds out of pocket – and that’s after a decade of austerity.

The hard truth is this – council budgets pay for social care, children’s services, fixing our roads, and collecting our bins. We’ve done all we can to protect those frontline services but budgets have been cut to the bone in recent years and if the Chancellor doesn’t give us the support we need on Wednesday it will be impossible to protect the services people in Lambeth rely on. If the Chancellor doesn’t keep the promise to give councils the cash to fight the crisis he will be effectively cutting local services like social care.

Key workers in Lambeth have done everything the government has asked to fight the Coronavirus crisis. It’s been tough but they’ve made sacrifices to support the national effort.

Now this government needs to do what they promised and provide the funding we need to protect the local services they provide. Lambeth is watching, Mr Chancellor – don’t let us down.

Cllr Andy Wilson

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