The scale of government support for our town during the coronavirus outbreak has been unprecedented and very welcome. In total, government support for UK local government and communities since the beginning of the pandemic has been almost £27 billion. This includes direct support for our local councils, emergency funding to support rough sleepers, business rates relief, and grants for small business.
Nationally, local authorities have received an additional £3.8billion to ensure they have the resources they need to respond to coronavirus and deal with additional pressures such as social care. Across West Sussex, allocated total funding to councils of £45 million is helping to continue providing essential services and support to those who need it the most. In total, communities and businesses across West Sussex have benefited from £383 million in government funding since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, helping to support some of our most vulnerable people, alongside the sectors that have been hardest hit.
This includes billions of pounds in grants for small businesses and business rates reliefs for industries such as hospitality and leisure that have not been able to operate during lockdown, of which we have a high amount of in Crawley. Alongside frontline workers, staff at our local councils have been working incredibly hard ever since the outbreak began. It is right that the government helps local councils in their hour of need and I’m very pleased to see this happening. The government have further helped by providing councils greater financial relief by allowing them to defer £2.6 billion in business rates payments.
All this government support is keeping everything running but we know we face tough times ahead. As this first wave of the pandemic comes under control, we know that getting our economy up and running is vital for everyone’s livelihood. The sooner we get things running, albeit in the safest possible manner with social distancing, the less severe the long-term economic consequences will be. No one wants to see real poverty and the adverse health problems that brings so we must get things moving to enable Crawley to bounce back.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
27th May 2020