Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore has welcomed news that South Gloucestershire will benefit from a share of £900 million in additional funding for local councils announced by the Government.
This means that since the start of the pandemic, South Gloucestershire Council has received £24.88million in extra direct support from the Government, helping to cover its coronavirus-related costs and ensuring it has the resources it needs to keep providing vital services.
South Gloucestershire also stands to benefit from a further £100 million which will be used to establish a new fund to support council leisure centres that are most in need, in recognition of the ongoing challenges many local authority leisure centres are facing. This means that councils will have a £1 billion extra in funding this winter, with more details of the support for leisure centres to be set out shortly.
Commenting, Chris Skidmore said: “The £1.99million announced today is hugely welcome and will ease financial pressures on South Gloucestershire Council and ensure it is able to continue providing vital local services this winter.
“Just like we said we would stand behind people whose jobs are at risk – with over £200 billion so far to project jobs, incomes and businesses throughout and beyond this pandemic – this Government is keeping its promise to local authorities and ensuring they have the resources they need to continue supporting people”.
The funding has not been ring-fenced, meaning local leaders will be able to determine how to spend the additional funding in order to best protect public health, local vulnerable people and the running of vital services. In total, over £4.6 billion of the £6.4 billion in additional government funding made available to councils has not been ring-fenced, reflecting the Government’s view that local authorities are best placed to determine local priorities.
This is the fourth announcement of extra direct support for local authorities since the start of the pandemic. It forms part of an unprecedented package of support for councils, which also includes up to £465 million through the new Local Alert Level system, £300 million to support Test and Trace and £30 million for enforcement and compliance. Councils can also claim funding through a compensation scheme for lost income from sales, fees and charges and further additional support will be made available to areas placed under Tier 3 restrictions.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have backed local councils with the funding they need to support their communities, protect vital services and recover lost income.
“This extra £1 billion funding will ensure that councils have the resources that they need over the winter and continue to play an essential role on the front line of our response to the virus while protecting the most vulnerable and supporting local businesses.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “It's vital that we keep ourselves fighting fit through the winter months and local authority leisure centres are crucial to this. This £100 million fund will help keep leisure centres across the country open. I urge leisure centres to bid for the money and people to make the most of these precious local facilities.”