The government have confirmed St Helens will receive a REDUCTION in emergency funding to help us respond to COVID-19.
This is a kick in the teeth for our key workers and the essential services they are providing for local residents through this crisis.
By September, St Helens will be facing extra costs and losses due to fighting COVID-19 of £37 million. With extra funding announced by government of only £11.3 million we’ll be looking at a black hole of almost £26 million.
This crisis has shown everyone very clearly who our key workers are and the jobs that really matter, and they include council staff and the services they provide. Social care, waste collections, highways repairs, school staff and maintenance, employment advice and support, licensing, trading standards and consumer protection, and much, much more – this is what a local council provides. It’s all essential, and it all needs fair and certain funding.
Before COVID-19 hit us, St Helens had suffered 10 years of chronic underfunding and our budget for 2020-21 already contained £5m in savings and another £5m use of one-off emergency reserves. Add another £26 million on top of these existing pressures and a difficult situation becomes potentially catastrophic.
We applaud our key workers and services every Thursday night, and it’s time for the government to give them the funding and support they deserve.