Councils in the South West have been given a vote of confidence by the government for the efforts they are making to cope with extra work to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick particularly gave them a pat on the back for the work they have been doing to distribute grants to small business.
He told the Saturday government press conference:
“Councils have worked extremely hard to pay out over £1 billion of business grants from government but it is vital that we ensure that every eligible business gets the support it needs, and I would urge councils to keep up the good work and those that have been slower in making progress to accelerate their efforts in the days to come”.
He announced that he was giving councils in England £1.6 billion to ease some of the pressures put on them trying to cope with the crisis.
Councils here in the South West will welcome this financial help from the government.
They have quickly risen to the challenge of distributing the grants to small businesses which Business West has been encouraging them to do quickly.
And while some of our councils made a slow start, most worked over the Easter holiday period to get the government cash out.
They have been very responsive to our efforts to ensure business gets the grants as soon as possible.
And the latest figures for our councils’ efforts are now detailed on the Trading Through Coronavirus section of our website.
The Housing Secretary also said that parks must remain open.“There have been some examples of parks being closed”, said Mr Jenrick.
“That cannot be right. People needs parks and that is why I have made it clear to councils that all parks must remain open”.
Funerals would now be allowed to go ahead with close family members present.
“Local councils at their best can, even in times like this make life more liveable and more humane.
“So, to all the unsung heroes of local councils, for all you are doing for us, thank you”.
And here at Business West we support the minister’s comment.
After all, we are all in this together.