To all who work in local government,
I am writing to you today, the unsung heroes in local government, to thank you for working to support your communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is understandably a challenging time for everyone and the work you are doing has never been more vital. You are keeping the country moving, helping to protect the NHS and enabling them to save lives.
You are getting vulnerable people the care and support they need, mobilising volunteers, keeping essential services including waste collections running and making sure your residents have the latest information about staying safe.
Many of you are making significant personal sacrifices as part of this national fight, while also being concerned about your own family and friends. Through the sacrifices you are making and the public service you are offering, we will get through this and come out the other side.
In an operation the scale of which we haven’t seen since the Second World War, what has been achieved in the last few weeks has been truly incredible.
We have delivered over 250,000 parcels of essential supplies to those shielding due to underlying health conditions, helping to ensure that the people that need to be by themselves at home do not feel that they are alone.
More than 5,400 rough sleepers – over 90% of those on the streets and in communal night shelters at the beginning of the crisis and known to local authorities – have been offered safe accommodation.
Working hand in hand with the NHS, you have helped to free up over 30,000 vital hospital beds, meaning more lives can be saved.
Businesses in your area are receiving the financial relief they desperately need, because you have made sure that happened swiftly.
Schools are being kept open for key workers and vulnerable children kept in contact with, to ensure they are safe and well.
I’ve spoken to colleagues up and down the country, hearing some amazing stories of the work going on in individual councils. Hundreds of thousands have volunteered to work in hubs to get supplies to the vulnerable. Some have created virtual libraries, supporting adults and children who at home.
In some areas, traffic wardens are delivering food parcels and gardeners and highways workers are collecting the bins. All across local government people are going the extra mile for their communities. It’s truly humbling.
You are doing all of this and more and we thank you.
My role as Local Government Secretary is to make sure you have everything you need to carry out this vital work. I have already made available £1.6 billion of additional funding to councils and today I am confirming another £1.6 billion will be provided to councils to help to deal with the new responsibilities we have asked of you.
I said that I would ensure you had the resources you needed to do the job, and I meant it. I promised that I would champion your cause and fight your corner as we work together, and I meant it.
I have been meeting regularly with council leaders and officers at all levels so I can understand local challenges and also address concerns, and through this I have seen the local leadership, from councillors and officers alike, supporting communities you know and love.
Some of your achievements in recent weeks have been heroic. Others are small mercies, modest acts of care and compassion, which together make this period more bearable and more humane.
I would like to thank you on behalf of everyone. When this is done, which it will be, you should be rightly proud of the part you played.
RT HON ROBERT JENRICK MP