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Plans to build temporary mortuary facilities will be discussed when councillors hear about the impact of coronavirus in Staffordshire.

A report due to be debated at a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet will also outline plans to spend more than £22million in the fight against COVID-19.

Cllr Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council, vowed the authority would do whatever it takes to help support families and businesses.

He added that the money would also be used to protect the most vulnerable and ease pressure on frontline services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philip Atkins

“Staffordshire has always had an amazing community spirit and it is incredible to see everyone pulling together as never before to help not only family, friends and neighbours, but also to help people who until days ago were simply strangers.

“We have seen businesses close, people being furloughed or losing their jobs, residential care homes and the NHS face crippling pressures and some of us have sadly lost loved ones before their time, including frontline care workers to this virus, which continues to show no mercy.

“That’s why, as a county council, we will continue to do everything we can to help Staffordshire through the coming weeks. I would like to thank every person in the county who is stepping up to help us do this.”

Cllr Philip Atkins, Staffordshire County Council

The spending plans will be discussed at a virtual meeting of the cabinet at 10am today (15th April). People can watch it live here from 10am.

“Financial impact”

As well as the allocation of more than £22million of funding from the Government, emergency measures set out in the report include the creation of a countywide food distribution network and additional care packages for vulnerable children and adults.

Other steps include the opening of the iCare volunteering scheme and the iCount programme which has seen 750 council staff switch their roles to support critical areas.

The report will also outline plans for the construction of temporary mortuary facilities.

The details of the coronavirus spending comes just two months after the county council set out its own budget and plans to reduce spending by £64million by 2024.

The authority has now said that at least £10million of that figure are now not likely to happen – leaving an overall impact of coronavirus on council finances of more than £50million.

“Our medium term financial strategy was agreed before the coronavirus began to cast its shadow and it is clear that there is a significant risk in now being able to deliver agreed savings in the timescales envisaged.

“While our immediate priority must be to do everything we can to tackle the coronavirus, we are also looking to the future.

“We are raising with Government the need to address the financial impact on our own county and local councils as we start to look with partners to rebuild services, businesses and our local economy.

“In the coming weeks, the challenge will remain huge and the toll on some will be sadly high, but I know that in Staffordshire we have the resilience, the resourcefulness and simply the sheer determination to see this through together.”

Cllr Philip Atkins, Staffordshire County Council

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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3 Comments

  1. I do realise mortuary facilities and looking after vulnerable people, is important.

    Why are you not tackling the most important topics?

    What should Fab be wearing?

    It’s all our MP talks about. It therefore must be the most important topic.

  2. Difficult to make sense of the figures given. What does “Reduce spending by £24,000,000 by 2004.” mean? Is this a total after four years, or a yearly saving after 2004? When you factor in the other figures given, attributing a £50,000,000 loss to Coronavirus is difficult to calculate.
    I would imagine that other significant statistics (like the loss of business revenue and rates) could easily increase the figure. If the time element is protracted then the government strategy might not be sustainable and some unpalatable decisions might have to be made.
    It would be helpful if figures are presented in unambiguous ways. There are many aspects to this crisis which we will all have to face eventually.

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