Government funding 'not enough' to protect vulnerable in Pendle

The leader of Pendle Borough Council has said the help from central government is not enough to cover the cost of what it will potentially need to spend to ensure that vulnerable people are protected.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal was speaking after it was revealed that Pendle Council would receive £900,000 from the government.

He said: "During the pandemic, local councils are recognised as playing a crucial role within their communities. We’re supporting those who need it most, as well as continuing to delivering frontline services and meeting new pressures.

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"The £900,000 sounds like a lot of money, but nobody knows how long this emergency will continue. Like many councils across England, it means that it’s likely we’ll be facing a shortfall in our income in the coming months which could affect our day to day services. This could run into millions of pounds.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal

“Many of the council’s services have been affected, including the temporary closure of all of Pendle Leisure Trust’s leisure centres. After 10 years of cuts we need a clear assurance from Government that our loss of income since the lockdown will be covered.

"To this effect I will be writing to government asking for 100% reimbursement.”

Over the past six weeks Pendle Council’s support includes:

setting up Pendle Community Support Hub for vulnerable residents who don’t have a network of friends or family nearby;

contacting both clinically and socially vulnerable people to make sure they have what they need;

making sure that homeless people have access to somewhere to live;

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providing food for those who need it.

Using funding provided by the government, the council is also providing additional help of up to £150 for working age people on Council Tax Support.

Coun. Iqbal added: “We’ve received around 2,100 grant applications from businesses and have paid out almost £17m. of funding provided by the government.

“This support is still available to eligible businesses so if you haven’t applied yet you still have time.

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“We know there are some businesses affected by coronavirus which aren’t currently eligible for a business support grant so we’re lobbying the government to have the rules changed so that we can support them.”