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Government must stick to fair funding promises, despite delay to review

The leader of Cornwall Council has expressed his disappointment over the government’s decision to delay the fair funding review for the second year in a row.

Changes to how funding is distributed between councils under the fair funding review will now be put on hold until 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed.

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Cornwall Council’s leader Julian German said: “Since 2010, Cornwall Council has faced over £350 million in cuts. This is on top of the extreme financial pressures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is crucial that the government provides adequate funding for Cornwall to deal with the ongoing surge in demand for vital services like adult social care support and protecting our children.”

While the government has announced that Cornwall will receive a further £16.2 million to help Cornwall Council tackle the crisis - in addition to the initial £18.1 million in emergency funding Cornwall received - Councillor German has warned that more support will be needed.

Over recent weeks, the council has worked tirelessly to protect Cornwall’s most vulnerable residents, ensure that businesses receive the funding they need to stay afloat, find temporary accommodation for rough sleepers, and provide assistance to frontline services and health workers.

Councillor German urged the government to set out how it intends to provide long-term funding for rural and coastal regions like Cornwall to help lessen the impact of the pandemic on our economy.

He said: “The coronavirus crisis is the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced as a council. We’re doing everything we can to keep residents safe, and support families and businesses through this unprecedented time.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that more funding is needed for local government in order for it to deal effectively with this crisis and its aftermath.”

Towns most at risk from lockdown

A study looking at the areas of the country most economically at risk from lockdown identified coastal and ex-industrial towns as a particular concern.

The research by the Centre For Towns and the University of Southampton ranked areas by calculating the proportion of the population employed in industries that are temporarily shut down because of the current restrictions.

Around four in 10 towns in the South West were found to be in the worst affected group in the country.

St Blazey, Penzance and St Ives were highlighted as the worst hit areas in Cornwall, with much of the local economies based on tourism and leisure.

Resort towns across Cornwall will continue to face serious losses if the holiday season is lost for a year.

Crisis adding £1bn to care costs 

The government says the delay to the fair funding review will “allow councils to focus on meeting the immediate public health challenge posed by the pandemic.”

But the latest figures from the County Councils’ Network suggest the crisis is adding an extra £1 billion to care costs across the country, on top of shortfalls on other income, such as car parking and council tax collection.

Councillor German said: “It’s never been clearer that we need to do all that we can to protect the vital services that Cornwall Council provides.

“I will keep putting pressure on the Government to give Cornwall the funding that we need to protect and enhance these services for our most vulnerable residents.”

 

Story posted on April 30, 2020