A £1 million fund has been set aside by Derbyshire County Council to support residents and businesses who may be affected by coronavirus.
Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis announced the funding today (Thursday) to complement the Government support announced in the Budget.
He also said it was an initial amount and it could rise, depending on how seriously the virus affects the county.
Nationally, a £500 million 'hardship fund' was announced by new Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Wednesday’s Budget, which will be given to local authorities in England to help support vulnerable people through the coronavirus outbreak.
The hardship fund is one of a number of national measures to support the country through the coronavirus outbreak, including extending sick pay and suspending business rates for many firms in England, also announced in the Budget.
Cllr Lewis welcomed the Government’s hardship fund announcement and said that all authorities needed to work together to support those affected by the virus.
There are currently four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Derbyshire, three of which have been in the High Peak, with the number predicted to rise over the coming weeks.
Cllr Lewis said: “We are pleased to be able to announce an initial fund of £1m to support Derbyshire residents and businesses who may be affected by the coronavirus in the coming weeks.
“We just don’t know how this will affect people personally, or how it will hit local businesses, but we want people to know that support is available to help them get through the outbreak, whether it’s advice and information or financial support.
“So even though we can’t predict the impact of coronavirus, we are acutely aware that businesses – particularly small and independent traders – and people organising events will be worried and we want to be ready to assist where we can.
“The £1m fund is an initial amount, and we will consider further allocations when we know more about the Government schemes and local needs, which is why we especially welcome the announcement in the Budget that there will be support for local authorities to help their communities when they need it most.
“Any further increases in the fund will, of course, need to be balanced against the additional costs the council faces in delivering its own services, particularly to vulnerable residents, during this period.”
Further details of the Derbyshire fund will be made available shortly.
For more information about the coronavirus, go to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/coronavirus