Recovery plans for the local economy and tourism are due to be presented to councillors in Bath & North East Somerset in a detailed report – which also describes how the council has responded to the coronavirus outbreak.
The report will go before members of the council’s Corporate Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday 27 May before being presented to the cabinet on Friday 29 May. Panel chairs and vice-chairs have also been invited to the Corporate Panel meeting and comments made will be passed to the cabinet which meets two days later.
Both meetings will be virtual meetings and live-streamed on the council’s Youtube
The report sets out how the council has and continues to, protect the most vulnerable, support businesses and maintain local services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also highlights the financial impact of coronavirus on the council and the need for additional government funding to address the predicted £43m shortfall for services this year.
Councillor Dine Romero, leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Sadly many families in our area have lost loved ones as a result of the virus and our thoughts are with those who have suffered loss.
“This is the first meeting of the cabinet since the lockdown and our focus will be on how the council has responded to the emergency. But we will also start to look at recovery, especially in the context of the very serious financial position we now find ourselves in and impacts on our local economy.
“Our response has been comprehensive, speedy and caring. We’re continuing to support those who need our help, ranging from vulnerable residents to local businesses, whilst maintaining critical services such as refuse collection, social care and child protection
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved but the challenge posed by coronavirus is far from over and we face a huge financial burden. This is a double whammy of increased costs and drastically reduced income due to the collapse of our visitor economy and the impact on income from our heritage attractions such as the Roman Baths.
“Like other councils we have stepped up the mark. We have worked with our partners and third sector groups to deliver food and medicines and we got millions of pounds of grant money into the pockets of local businesses. Staff have worked heroically to keep key services going, often in very challenging circumstances and I want to acknowledge the commitment of care workers, key workers and the NHS during the outbreak.
“It is dispiriting that our services are now at risk from financial impacts not of our making. However, we will continue to be open and honest with our residents about what is happening and will strongly press central government to respond to our genuine fears about the future.”
The report to cabinet explains how, in partnership with Virgin Care, the CCG and 3SG, council and partner staff worked around the clock to set up the Compassionate Communities Hub to provide advice and support to thousands of residents self-isolating, shielding or in need of help. 3SG recruited more than 2,400 volunteers to respond to calls received into the hub. The hub has so far received more than 4000 calls from people across Bath and North East Somerset and 3SG volunteers have completed more than 800 tasks such as food shopping and collection of medicines.
The report reveals that the council has so far paid out more than £33m in Business Support Grants to 3,000 of the 3,500 businesses across Bath & North East Somerset which are eligible for the support.
The report also highlights some of the work underway to support recovery from the pandemic including a new Economic Recovery Partnership and development of a recovery plan for B&NES main tourist attractions
The full reports are available on the links below: Corporate PDS Panel