Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol City Council
“I have called on national government to underwrite the true costs of the pandemic to local authorities, including lost income.
My Labour administration supports debt cancellation, including through the Public Works Loan Board, as part of a funding solution. We have also highlighted changes to the funding formula which saw Bristol and other councils lose out.”
Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston Council
“Labour councils have been worst hit by ten years of austerity economics and are now in an even worse position as we rightly intervene to protect our communities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Once the pandemic is over there must be no return to normal and we must seek to rebuild our communities as the low paid, less well-off and many in our minority communities have been disproportionately affected by it.
We need a new financial settlement for local government as councils will be at the centre stage of rebuilding local economies from the economic downturn and rising unemployment which will inevitably come. I am proud to support the Labour Campaign for Council housing initiative to cancel all local authority debt. This is needed to ensure local government survives but also so councils can play their role to regenerate communities in future years.”
Doina Cornell, Leader of Stroud District Council
“Increased costs and decreased revenue is hitting local government as hard as businesses due to restrictions to combat the coronavirus, and some local councils are projecting losses of almost all their income for the coming year. At the same time, when the restrictions start to ease, local government will be a crucial part of the recovery. For my own council alone, cancelling our housing debt for example, which we took on when we aquired our council housing stock, would liberate us to build more council homes, create jobs and invest in our local communities, helping to kick start the recovery.“
Peter Soulsby, Mayor of Leicester
“Following the Government’s decision to cancel NHS debt, I have added my name to the Statement calling for the Government to do the same with Local Authority debt. As the statement sets out, if the Government was to do this it would mean around £4.5 billion a year more spending power for hard pressed local councils and would be particularly very beneficial to housing revenue account.”
Jim Grant, Labour Leader Swindon Borough Council
“Swindon Council Labour Group supports the call for cancellation of local authority debt in light of the huge financial pressure placed on councils by Covid-19. That includes the Housing Revenue Account ‘debt’ We question whether the debt imposed on this and other councils was fair in the first place.
It is clear that the debt makes it more difficult for councils to build new houses. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted that many people in the UK are living in cramped, poor quality housing, and the impact that this can have on health. It also seems inevitable that the financial consequences of Covid-19 will mean many more people will struggle to afford decent housing. The government must start properly funding councils to build decent houses that residents need and deserve.”