OPINION: The East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader’s column with Jonathan Owen – We will do all we can to support area’s recovery from the pandemic
The past 18 months have been immensely challenging for both the country and across the East Riding.
The Covid-19 pandemic swept the UK and the world like nothing seen in over a century.
It saw communities come together in a spirit of selfless determination to support each other and do the right thing by adhering to public health advice and guidance with the aim of reducing the spread of coronavirus.
The council has and continues to be on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19 and, as it has from the start, will continue to do all it can to support residents, businesses and communities across the East Riding.
Thanks to the rollout of the vaccine programme, restrictions have now lifted and the battle against Covid-19 is changing.
We now have one eye firmly looking ahead at how the East Riding will recover from the pandemic.
Over the past year-and-a-half, in addition to maintaining services and tackling Covid-19 through its public health work, the council has provided financial support to residents and businesses.
This has included:
○ More than 40,000 business grant payments, totalling £155million
○ Over 27,000 awards for council tax hardship support to residents on low incomes, totalling £3.8m
○ Winter support grants and local support grants for 2,500 households and vulnerable individuals, totalling £0.6m
○ Free school meals for over 7,500 children, totalling £1m.
Through our incredibly important public health work and thanks to our entire workforce, the council has been able to maintain vital public services throughout the pandemic and also provide critical funding to support individuals and businesses.
As a key economic driver for the region, the council will play a key part in the East Riding’s recovery. One of the major contributors to this will be the council’s ambitious capital investment programme.
This year, the council plans to spend £144m on over 300 schemes.
The council also remains committed to investing in infrastructure to support and protect communities.
In addition to the funding made available to support residents and businesses and the council’s own capital investment programme, £4.1m in extra funding is also to be spent on council projects to benefit residents.
The funding will include:
○ A further £1.1m to fund several initiatives in the East Riding to help and support residents and businesses to manage and recover from the pandemic.
○ An extra £1m towards the council’s fight against climate change. This will see the recommendations made by the council’s Climate Change Review Panel progress.
○ The council’s Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Plan will receive £0.1m to support its improvement project.
○ And finally, £500,000 will go towards refurbishing the East Riding’s parks and playgrounds.
I’m extremely pleased that, as we recover from this awful pandemic, we can put these funds to good use to support residents and schemes that will improve the East Riding and move the area forward.