Deputy Leader calls on Secretary of State to ‘step up and fulfil his commitment to local government’

Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council have today (24/9/20) endorsed the authority’s medium-term financial strategy (MTFS) and appealed to the Secretary of State for Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, to ‘step up and fulfil his commitment to local government’. 

Robert Jenrick assured councils back in March that the extra local spending needed in response to the Covid-19 crisis, would be met by the government.  As a consequence, the unbudgeted costs and loss of income has left Lewes District Council with an estimated £4 million deficit in 2020/2021 and £7.9 million over the next four years. 

Councillor Zoe Nicholson(pictured), Deputy Leader of the Council, said: 

“It’s very simple, Robert Jenrick must step up and fulfil his commitment to local government and make sure we receive the funding that he promised, no ifs or buts, our most vulnerable residents are relying on him to do the right thing.” 

The MTFS sets the strategic financial direction for the Council and is regularly updated as it evolves and develops throughout the year to form the framework for the council’s financial planning. 

Council officers are working closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to formulate a financial solution and combat the impact of Covid-19 for residents and businesses. 

Aimed at reducing the estimated budget shortfall, a recovery and reset programme has also been instigated to radically scrutinise every area of the council’s operation and introduce new ways of delivering services.  

Councillor Nicholson added: 

“I remain so immensely proud of the way the council continues to respond to this hideous pandemic, with so many good people going above and beyond their normal duties to help the most vulnerable. 

“It is unthinkable that the government won’t ensure our finances are adequately restored so our work in all communities in the district can continue unhindered.”