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Leader urges Chancellor to help Norfolk "build back better" after COVID

09 November 2020

Help us to build back better after the pandemic - that's the message from Norfolk County Council's leader to the Chancellor.

Council leader Councillor Andrew Proctor has written to Rishi Sunak, ahead of the comprehensive spending review later this month.

The letter says:

Dear Rishi,

Thanks for all your support over the last few months, which has helped us to protect and support our communities during the first phase of the pandemic. I also welcome your economic measures, including the extension of the furlough scheme and additional help to the self-employed.

In the current circumstances, I appreciate why you are planning a one-year comprehensive spending review this year, but you know that we need far more certainty for our long-term funding especially for all aspects of adult social care. Recognising, but remaining concerned, that longer term solutions to adult social care and children’s social care funding have been delayed, we need additional, one-year support to cope with the spike in demand that followed the initial lockdown phase and which is currently moving through our system.

I know that Northern colleagues have spoken up for additional resources - but it’s important not to forget the East, which is a net economic contributor and, therefore, making a positive return on your investment.

Economic support and recovery will rightly be a key focus of your plans for the next year. I am keen to see opportunities where we can work together to support the skills agenda and accelerate our infrastructure projects – whether roads or broadband – which will revitalise the economy and offer hope to the thousands who are already losing their existing jobs.

I am sure you realise that support for social recovery is equally vital. Councils have played a key role in supporting the thousands of additional people who came forward for help during the first wave in Norfolk and this new level of need is not going to subside quickly.

Continued hardship funding will be required for those who, by no fault of their own, have lost their jobs, seen their earnings plummet or their businesses, especially small businesses, decimated. This funding should be channelled through councils as the most effective way of supporting our communities.

I would also welcome a marker about future intentions. A commitment now that next year’s comprehensive spending review will finally address the issue of sustainable long-term funding. We continue to support our vulnerable residents such as adults with disabilities and poor mental health, but our resources are finite without having to raise taxes disproportionately and so that certainty would be appreciated by all councils.

With the right blend of investment in social care and community support, economic recovery and infrastructure, Norfolk can help you to build back better and ensure there is a positive legacy from this traumatic pandemic.

I would be very happy to speak to you about more detailed examples of where, with appropriate support from Government, we can work together and deliver on our shared objectives of economic and social recovery.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Andrew Proctor

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