Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is seeking £7.7million of additional Government funding to the Borough to support the fight against spiralling COVID-19 infection rates, provide more grants for local businesses and support vulnerable residents who may need to shield or self-isolate again.
The call comes after the Government declared the Borough an “area of enhanced support”.
“The Government identified the Borough as an ‘area of enhanced support’ because of the rising infection rates and so we’re setting out the enhanced support we need,” said Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Borough’s Local Outbreak Engagement Group (LOEG).
“We're requesting £7.7million for the additional local work we think needs to be done if we are to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting a grip of the rapidly worsening infection rate and protect the most vulnerable in our community while also helping to protect local businesses and jobs.”
The funding being sought would be used to:
- provide a more effective, locally-led tracing service
- bolster the hugely-successful community support hub for six months to provide further support to vulnerable people in self-isolation or if there are changes to shielding requirements
- provide an additional round of business support grants and a separate small grants scheme to help businesses become COVID-19 secure
- pay for additional supplies of the flu vaccine to ensure supply meets demand and reduce further burden on the NHS and social care
- increase the capacity of its environmental health and public health teams to boost education and enforcement work
- support further communications and engagement with residents, communities and businesses
- introduce COVID marshals
- provide Cleveland Police with greater resources so that known areas of non-compliance with the restrictions can be proactively targeted.
- support contingency arrangements for care homes facing staffing pressures due to the numbers self-isolating
- provide temporary accommodation for homeless people and asylum seekers
“We’re already leading a huge amount of work across many different fronts but steep rise in infection rates means the scale, pace and scope of what’s needed next goes way beyond the resource that’s currently available to us,” said Councillor Cook.
“The funding we’ve requested would be the absolute minimum needed over the next six months. It would enable us and our partners to take a range of actions locally and give us the best possible chance of getting this under control.”