Hardship fund to be administered by county councils: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2020 | 07 July 2020

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has announced that a new £63m welfare fund for food and other supplies for vulnerable and struggling families will be administered by county councils in shire areas.

This is in recognition of the networks and infrastructure built up by county councils during Coronavirus for food distribution and other essential supplies to those who have been ‘shielding’ and other vulnerable households.

However, this has prompted concerns in the local government trade press by the national representative body that represents district councils.

Below, the County Councils Network responds.

A County Councils Network spokesperson said:

“This statement is hugely disappointing. The suggestion that some households will not receive support is incorrect and does a disservice to positive and effective two-tier working in local government during the pandemic. Despite this misleading statement by their national representative body, we are sure that district councils on the frontline will want to work closely with their county councils to ensure that this funding reaches those that need it most.  

“In the first weeks of Coronavirus, county councils led the development of infrastructure to distribute food and other essentials to shielded residents almost overnight, with many local authorities extending this help to other residents who needed their support. Alongside dedicated support schemes for those in financial hardship, counties’ networks remain in place and will allow them to distribute resource to the most vulnerable quickly and effectively. This is why the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs concluded that county councils were the most effective means of distributing this funding.  

“Rather than divisive discussions over the distribution of this funding, county councils will be focusing on the most important thing: the vulnerable residents who require this support.”