Local Councils Are Furious They'll Receive Just £14 Per Head For Clinically Vulnerable People In Second Lockdown
Council leaders have criticised the government after it emerged they will get just £14 per head to support clinically vulnerable residents advised to stay at home during the second lockdown.
Local authorities say they will struggle to make the payment stretch if they are called on to support the clinically vulnerable with prescription services, food delivery support and increase the number of people manning advice and help lines.
The Covid crisis has already left councils struggling financially with a reduction in commercial income and a rise in people requesting relief from paying council tax.
In October the government announced an extra £1 billion to support councils, on top of £4.8 billion they said was provided to ease spending pressures.
The local shielding framework, announced by local government secretary Robert Jenrick, means councils will receive £14 per head per clinically extremely vulnerable person in their area.
The details are still being absorbed by local authority leaders, who were today asking central government for more guidance.
The Leader of Enfield Council, Nesil Caliskan, said her council is currently facing £13 million in cost pressures to deal with Covid, and said the money will not go far enough.
"We've lost income from commercical ventures, our grants have been cut down and we have additional pressures that come along such as supporting two children with high needs, that will cost the council £1 million alone this year," she said.
"This money definitely won't stretch. Even if we weren't facing a gap this year. Those who are clinically vulnerable might need additional services - home care for example, and if they are isolating, practical support like prescriptions and food deliveries. Last time we did 10,000 prescription and 50,000 food parcels ourselves."
Labour's shadow communities and local government secretary said the government must explain how they have arrived at the per head figure and how it is intended to last for a month.
Steve Reed MP said: "The government failed to protect those shielding during the first lockdown – it’s crucial they learn the lessons to keep the vulnerable safe.
"Ministers must explain how they arrived at this figure – people who have to shield deserve all the support they need to stay safe during this latest lockdown."
Jack Hawkins, leader of Lambeth Council, said: "It's not enough, they know that and they should be ashamed of themselves. You can't support communities on the cheap."
Another council leader said it has been suggested that £14 will cover the additional costs as most are supporting themselves.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for comment.