In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP, Core Cities UK calls for more financial support, adding that cities and city regions are key to the country’s economic recovery.
The group wants an urgent funding package aimed at councils in urban areas, arguing that they face particular challenge around issues like poverty and homelessness. And the letter calls for Government to use the expertise of city leaders, honed during the 2008/9 financial crisis, to help lead cities out of lockdown and into recovery.
Cities have been particularly badly hit as they cope with declining incomes from services like parking and public transport ticketing while spending has risen as cities protect the vulnerable and keep vital services running.
Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Judith Blake, said: The UK’s biggest cities and city regions are critical to a safe return from lockdown and future recovery.
“This cannot happen unless the financial crisis facing public services is dealt with quickly and decisively and we quickly plug a gap that we estimate is now over £1.6bn. Government support so far has not covered even one third of this figure.
"Government must honour its commitment to ‘do whatever it takes' and recognise that funding so far is wholly inadequate. We must get back in full what we have spent protecting our communities and our citizens from Covid-19 to avoid the shut down of vital services that protect the most vulnerable in our cities."
The letter also states that Government's figures show higher death rates for major urban and deprived areas and that city economies have been particularly hard hit.
Cllr Blake added: "We need immediate action, but Core Cities can also help Government to find solutions to the challenges in the longer term. We urge Westminster and Whitehall to look to the local and draw on our expertise, avoiding the pitfall of a centrally planned economic recovery that will waste time and money."