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A Burntwood councillor has asked where a £63million funding pot to support people who need extra support as the coronavirus continues has gone.

The Government briefing on 11th June unveiled the package of support as part of the announcement on free school meals.

The funding was earmarked for “local authorities to assist those struggling to afford food and other essentials”.

But Cllr Sue Woodward, who represents Burntwood North on Staffordshire County Council, said there is no evidence the money had materialised.

Cllr Sue Woodward

“At the same time that Government announced their change of heart on free school meals, they also announced a funding pot of £63million for people needing extra support.

“Although this isn’t a huge amount across the whole country, even small amounts of additional help can make a big difference for households already struggling and more and more people becoming unemployed.

“I’ve been chasing this now for a month and am still no nearer finding out how this money is going to be distributed while community response organisations, like Be A Friend here in Burntwood, are anticipating and trying to plan for greater levels of need in our town over the coming months.”

Cllr Sue Woodward

The funding announcement was made by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, but Cllr Woodward has now been told that it is to be administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

But the Labour councillor said neither neither Staffordshire County Council nor the district and borough councils in the region have yet received the funding or the relevant guidance on how it is to be distributed.

Cllr Woodward added:

“The press release issued at the time said that councils already have mechanisms in place to provide support that suits the needs of local communities.

“It’s worse than being told ‘the cheque is in the post’. The cheque hasn’t even been written out yet and community response organisations across the country, let alone in the county, are being left in the dark.”

Cllr Sue Woodward

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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