Local Authority Funding
Throughout the pandemic, the Government has supported local authorities such as Telford and Wrekin Council with a total of £4.6 billion across England.
The main source of extra funding to local authorities has been through four tranches of non-ring-fenced emergency funding. Telford and Wrekin has so far received a total of £15.2 million:
- £5.2 million in the first tranche (19th March);
- £5.0 million in the second (18th April);
- £1.7 million in the third (2nd July);
- and £3.4 million in the fourth (22nd October)
Social Care Funding
In addition to this funding to deal with general spending pressures, extra funding has been made available specifically for social care. Telford and Wrekin received an allocation of £1.5 million from the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund. This was paid in two tranches, on 22nd May and in early July.
Business Support Grants
Furthermore, businesses required to close due to national ‘lockdown’ restrictions will receive grants of up to £3,000 per 28-day period under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum, an extension of the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme. This is administered by local authorities but funded by central Government.
The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides local councils with grant funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but which are impacted.
Telford and Wrekin Council received their latest allocation on 13th November, totalling:
- £2,379,690 from the Local Restrictions Support Grant
- £3,597,080 from the Additional Restrictions Grant
Support funding for rough sleepers
Telford and Wrekin Council will receive £1,076,653 for local schemes that provide secure ‘move on’ style accommodation for people at risk of sleeping on the streets. This sits alongside the £10 million Cold Weather Fund to support winter shelters and ensure they are Covid-secure.
COVID Winter Grant Scheme
Families that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and need extra support this winter with food and bills will benefit from a new £170 million scheme unveiled by the Government. Additional, ring-fenced Government funding to help vulnerable families and individuals received by Telford & Wrekin Council totals £609,359.45.
Total local authority allocations
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has provided a number of sums of money to English local authorities to assist their cashflow and supplement their funding during the pandemic. To date, these include:
- 11 March 2020: A £500 million ‘hardship fund’ for residents struggling to pay council tax bills. This funding is to be allocated to residents currently benefiting from local council tax support schemes. Government guidance was published on 24 March, and additional guidance on 16 April.
- 19 March 2020: £1.6 billion additional funding made available to local authorities. £1.4 billion of this funding was allocated via the adult social care needs formula. The remaining £200 million was allocated in line with each councils’ Settlement Funding Assessment.
- 25 March 2020: £1.8 billion grants paid to local authorities in advance. This followed the Chancellor’s announcement of widespread exemption from business rates for 2020-21. Normally, business rates relief would be applied first, and local authorities would seek reimbursement after it had been applied.
- 1 April 2020: £12 billion funding for business rates grants transferred to local authorities. These funds will be distributed under the Business Rates Grants schemes.
- 16 April 2020: Councils will be allowed to defer £2.6bn in business rates payments to central government from April to June 2020. This is in respect of the ‘central share’ of business rates.
- 16 April 2020: £850m in central government social care grants for both children and adults, from April to June 2020. This was paid up front in April.
- 18 April 2020: A second £1.6 billion of additional funding for local government.
- 2 May 2020: a further discretionary fund of £617 million to be made available for grants to businesses that do not qualify for the Small Business Grant scheme and the retail grant scheme.
- 15 May 2020: £600 million made available to local authorities to support social care provision. 75% of the funding to be passed on direct to care homes, with the other 25% to “be used for infection control measures [which] … local authorities are able to allocate based on need”.
- 24 May 2020: £160 million of funding to tackle homelessness brought forward from 2021-22. A further £105 million was made available on 24 June 2020.
- 24 May 2020: £50 million made available to councils via the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. This funding was to cover planning and communications to assist the reopening of high street businesses, together with temporary changes to the public realm. This fund may not be used to provide grants to businesses or for capital spending. Grant funding agreements will be instituted between local authorities and the Government.
- 11 June 2020: A ‘local welfare assistance fund’ of £63 million made available to councils to “support people struggling to secure food and other essentials”. This funding will be made available to upper-tier authorities.
- 11 June 2020: A £300 million fund announced for local authorities to support the Government’s test and trace service. 11 authorities will lead on sharing best practice.
- 2 July 2020: A further £500 million of un-ringfenced funding for councils. The Government published allocation figures for this third round of funding, alongside figures for the rounds made available on 19 March and 18 April.
- 24 August 2020: guidance issued on a fund to compensate local authorities for lost income from sales, fees and charges. The Government will compensate local authorities for 75% of income from these sources for which they had budgeted in 2020/21, with a 5% ‘deductible’ rate for which no compensation will be paid. This fund does not cover commercial income.
- 22 October 2020: A further £919 million of un-ringfenced funding for councils. Funding allocations are based on the ‘Covid Relative Needs Formula’ and take into account the sums allocated on 16 March, 19 April and 2 July. An additional £100 million fund to support “council leisure centres most in need”.
- 4 November 2020: The Additional Restrictions Grant and Contain Outbreak Management Fund both formalised and made available to all district and unitary councils in England. They are allocated on a rough formula of £20 per head and £8 per head.