COVID-19: LGA responds to national lockdown announcement

"Councils will continue to step up to support residents, especially those who are more vulnerable, businesses and education settings."

A close up of a light grey coronavirus with red spikes against a dark grey background

Responding to the Prime Minister's announcement of a national lockdown, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:

“Another national lockdown will be tough for many, but infection rates are clearly rising out of control across the country and the Government is right to act. Councils will continue to step up to support residents, especially those who are more vulnerable, businesses and education settings.

“Lives depend on us all playing our part in driving down transmission rates by following the rules, self-isolating when necessary, wearing a face covering and washing our hands regularly.

“While the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines is a source of hope for us all, the coming weeks and months will undoubtedly be tough. In the face of exponential growth in transmission of this virus, it is important that vaccination plans are accelerated.

“It is vital that we all do the right thing and self-isolate when required. To help, the Government needs to ensure its £500 self-isolation payment support scheme is available to those in need of financial support as a result of the requirement to self-isolate. Councils also need adequate funding to provide discretionary support for those who fall outside the scope of the national scheme to prevent hardship and control the spread of the virus.

“Government grants, distributed to hundreds of thousands of small businesses by councils, have been a lifeline for those struggling and worried about the future. Councils need clarity about whether more money will be made available for them to support local businesses as a result of these latest restrictions.

“Driving strong local action amid this latest national lockdown will add further pressure to already over-stretched council budgets. Councils continue to face huge extra cost pressures as they lead communities through this crisis at a time when they still face significant income losses. Extra government funding and financial measures have helped but the Government must bring forward a further funding package that address the remaining financial pressures councils face in 2020/21.”