Fire and Rescue Services set for share of additional COVID-19 Government funding
05 May 2020
FIRE AND Rescue Services across England are set to receive a share of the additional £1.6 billion Government funding to support their ongoing response to COVID-19. This shows how the response of Fire and Rescue Services is being recognised nationally by Government.
The fire share equates to 3% of the £1.6 billion funding announced on 18th April. This follows the first tranche of funding announced on 19th March, which also stood at 1.6 billion. £28.5 million has been allocated directly to stand-alone Fire Authorities, with a further £6 million of the central fund available to support Fire and Rescue Services which are providing assistance to Ambulance Services and coroners in terms of mortuary support.
The remainder of the funding for Fire and Rescue Services has been included in the allocation provided to county councils and unitary councils which have responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services.
The latest allocation for fire is four times more than services received in the first tranche. This is a result of the vital work of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), ensuring the Government is aware of the wide range of work Fire and Rescue Services have undertaken to support the country in response to the pandemic.
Response to COVID-19
Roy Wilsher, chair of the NFCC, said: “I'm delighted to see Fire and Rescue Services receiving this additional funding to assist with their tireless response to COVID-19. This is testament to everyone’s hard work in keeping communities safe during the current pandemic. The NFCC has been working with Government to ensure Fire and Rescue Services received a fair share of the funding to reduce pressure on already stretched resources. This will go some way towards helping to reduce that burden as we move into the next phase of the response.”
Wilsher added: “However, I would have liked to have seen the funding for Fire and Rescue Services ring-fenced for those which sit under county councils and unitary councils. It's imperative that these operations receive a fair share of the allocation.”
Fire and Rescue Services have taken on a number of additional activities showing that they're ready, willing and able to support the response to COVID-19. These include the movement of bodies, driving ambulances, assisting vulnerable people, transporting patients to and from Nightingale Hospitals, face shield assembly and packing, assisting with antigen testing, ambulance transport, driver training and instruction, assisting with face fit and also the delivery of PPE and medicines.
The announcement of the allocations was made by Robert Jenrick, the Local Government Secretary. It means councils across England will receive around £3.2 billion to deal with the immediate impacts of the Coronavirus. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, this will assist councils in continuing to deliver front line services, supporting those who need it most, as well as meeting new pressures.
The funding is based on population and the latest assessments of the challenges being confronted.
*Full allocations are available to view online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-emergency-funding-for-local-government