Green Councillors welcome new powers from Government to respond to local outbreaks, but stress they must address gaps in resource for councils to respond to the pandemic and in tackling crisis in adult social care.
Green Councillors have today welcomed new powers from Government, announced on Friday 17 July, to enable local councils to respond to Covid-19 outbreaks – but say additional resources will be essential to support a truly community-led response to healthcare needs.
The Government announcement suggests that local councils may be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events – however Greens say more information on the nature of this support will be needed, including on the potential for local furlough schemes.
Proposals that call on the Government to provide stronger local-decision making powers will go before a meeting of council next week. Both Green and Labour Councillors have stressed that the Government must be called upon to ‘adequately support’ councils in responding to the pandemic and beyond.
The proposals from councillors include a challenge to Government over the lack of resources and powers available to help manage local outbreaks of Covid-19, written before the announcement today. The highly centralised approach of the UK Government towards the Covid-19 outbreak has been widely criticised, with a report from a leading Think Tank concluding that the UK has had ‘one of the worst responses,’ to the pandemic.
Echoing the Local Government Association campaign “Re-thinking local”, Greens say it is vital Government recognise the role of councils in responding to local community needs. Urging stronger support from Government, proposals going to the vote on Thursday 23rd July will also demand urgent reform of the way councils receive funding for adult social care.
Green Councillor Sarah Nield, who sits on the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board said:
“The crisis that Covid-19 has caused in our care homes has underlined the desperate need for a long-term solution to local and democratic control over health and adult social care. The Government must provide answers to local councils, who are at the forefront of providing a response.
“During the pandemic, councils like ours have taken up the challenge and provided new services and support – but now the Government must back us with the right level of funding and local decision-making powers.
“7 full years on from the promised Green paper on adult social care, we are still no clearer on the funding for adult social care. This is despite the Covid-19 scandal in our care homes revealing precisely why we need those funding promises fulfilled.”