Deprived areas 'short-changed' by cut in Government coronavirus cash, says Dan Jarvis
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has said councils in South Yorkshire have been “short-changed” over cash to help the vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak.
Analysis of Local Government Association by Labour found areas in high deprivation were handed a £126m cut overall after the second payment of emergency funding made by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary to fight Covid-19, despite many having the highest infection rates in the country.
The analysis found councils across Yorkshire and the Humber received £9m less in the second payment to the first, but the Government said the two payments were allocated in different ways and had to be considered together to form a full picture.
Data showed that in total, Yorkshire councils had received £293m to support the coronavirus effort, with £3.2bn given nationally.
Some areas, such as Hull, received £2.6m less in their second payment than their first.
North Yorkshire got £4.3m less.
But other areas saw an increase. York received a boost of an extra £1m in the second payment, and Harrogate got £1.5m more.
In Mr Jarvis’ area, Barnsley received £1.3m less, while Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield got £1.4m, £1.6m, and £2m less respectively.
He said: “People and councils in South Yorkshire have been short-changed by the Government.
“Our local authorities have made valiant efforts to protect the vulnerable, provide care and ensure public services have been there for us in our hour of need. Now this shortfall risks people and places in South Yorkshire being left without support – with councils having to pick up the pieces and foot the bill.
“Councils have worked tirelessly to keep people safe, businesses afloat and our communities strong. This is no way to thank them for their huge contribution to help us overcome the coronavirus crisis. Rather than levelling up, this approach pushes us down.”
He called for the Government to allocate support on the basis of need.
He said: “To do otherwise shows that we are not all in this together. This move represents a massive shift of resources away from the most deprived areas, that were suffering before Covid-19, are being hit hardest by it, and will have the toughest time recovering.”
He added: “That’s why returning to the status quo – of Westminster holding the purse strings – is not good enough.
“Instead, the Government should ensure metro mayors, local leaders and businesses have the powers and resources to not only recover from the pandemic, but have the tools to unlock economic renewal across South Yorkshire and the North – building a stronger, fairer future for all.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We’re providing councils with an unprecedented £3.2bn in the fairest way possible and giving them the resources to tackle the immediate pressures they have told us they’re facing.
“The two tranches of funding were allocated in different ways because they address different needs, but should be considered together as the true picture of this additional support.”
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