Our Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis announced the £1 million fund today to complement the government support announced in the budget and said it was an initial amount and could rise, depending on how seriously the virus affected the county.
Nationally, a £500 million 'hardship fund' was announced by new Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Wednesday’s budget, which will be given to local authorities in England to help support vulnerable people through the coronavirus outbreak.
The hardship fund is one of a number of national measures to support the country through the coronavirus outbreak, including extending sick pay and suspending business rates for many firms in England, also announced in the budget.
Councillor Barry Lewis welcomed the government's hardship fund announcement and said that all authorities needed to work together to support those affected by the virus.
There are currently four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Derbyshire, with the number predicted to rise over the coming weeks.
Councillor Lewis said:
“We are pleased to be able to announce an initial fund of £1 million to support Derbyshire residents and businesses who may be affected by the coronavirus in the coming weeks.
“We just don’t know how this will affect people personally, or how it will hit local businesses, but we want people to know that support is available to help them get through the outbreak, whether it’s advice and information or financial support.
“So even though we can’t predict the impact of coronavirus, we are acutely aware that businesses – particularly small and independent traders – and people organising events will be worried and we want to be ready to assist where we can.
“The £1 million fund is an initial amount, and we will consider further allocations when we know more about the government schemes and local needs, which is why we especially welcome the announcement in the budget that there will be support for local authorities to help their communities when they need it most.
“Any further increases in the fund will, of course, need to be balanced against the additional costs the council faces in delivering its own services, particularly to vulnerable residents, during this period.”
Further details of the Derbyshire fund will be made available shortly.
Find out more information about the coronavirus.