More than £20 million for small businesses, 96% of office-based staff able to work remotely within two days of lockdown, and a 20% rise in recycling were just some of the highlights shared by senior councillors regarding the work of the authority during the coronavirus.
The cabinet at Stafford Borough Council met via teleconference yesterday (Tuesday 5 May) to discuss the local authority’s response to Covid-19 and how services had been affected. They were joined by the leaders of the two main opposition groups on the council in the meeting which was also open to the public via Zoom or by dialling in.
Leader of the council, Patrick Farrington, and his five cabinet colleagues gave briefings about the work taking place across the authority including the community hub to support people in need, making sure businesses got financial help they were entitled to, and ensuring people could still receive benefits quickly despite office based staff having to work from home.
As part of in-depth briefings during the 75-minute-long meeting, the councillors heard that:
- 96% of office based staff were able to work from home within two days of lockdown
- The council were in the top third of authorities nationally for paying grants of more than £20 million to around 80% of eligible small businesses
- Residual (green bin) waste had risen by 15% - but recycling sent for processing had increased by more than 20% since the introduction of the blue bag.
- Around 300 food parcels had been delivered and more than 2000 safe and well phone calls made to vulnerable residents
- Rough sleepers were found temporary accommodation within 48 hours of lockdown
- And more time had been given for a £25 million council bid for money from Government to improve the High Street in Stafford
Councillor Farrington thanked employees and members of the council for pulling together at a challenging time - and shared a call he had received earlier from a member for the public praising the support given by the authority’s finance team.
Councillors from across the political groups will have the opportunity to scrutinise the council’s Covid-19 response at a future meeting.
Councillor Aidan Godfrey, leader of the opposition Labour group, praised the council staff: “They have gone above and beyond and doing far more than anyone would be expected to do. Not only are they doing their own jobs but helping others out as well.”
Leader of the Borough Independents, Councillor Rob Kenney, said that Stafford Borough was doing an excellent job helping businesses.
A recording of the meeting will be available from www.staffordbc.gov.uk this week.
Press Release No: 5635