'Save our services': Council asks residents to sign letter calling for more government funding

Council chiefs in Oldham are calling on residents to sign a letter to the government urging ministers to 'save our services' and provide more funding to the borough.

Bosses estimate that they are facing a shortfall of more than £19m from extra costs and lost income caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

And despite a further £500m being announced for local authorities by Secretary of State for Local Government Robert Jenrick, the town hall says this is ‘not enough to fully support the people of Oldham’. 

It has launched the Save Oldham’s Services (SOS) campaign, with cross party support from the Labour administration and opposition Liberal Democrat group.

 A spokesperson said: “Team Oldham, the voluntary sector and the community have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to keep Oldham residents safe. This vital work has come at a massive financial cost to Oldham council. 

“We’re calling on the community to say thanks to those who have been working to look after others, the care workers, waste disposal teams, emergency helpline operators and more.

“To enable us to keep being there for our residents we now need the support from government in the form of fair funding. 

“This funding will help make up the costs the council has had to spend on its priority – keeping Oldham residents safe.” 

Through the pandemic council staff continued to work, with some switching roles or volunteering to support different departments.

Those ‘local heroes’ included refuse collectors, library staff who delivered video sessions for children at home, staff who volunteered to deliver PPE to key workers, and the team at the hub in Alexandra Park who grew vegetables for the foodbank and emergency food parcels. 

Council leader Sean Fielding said he can’t thank people enough for their ‘extraordinary efforts’.  

“All of Oldham has pulled together to be there for each other during this incredibly difficult period. Everyone who has worked to ensure we get through this is an example of what makes Oldham such a special place,” he added.

“To properly thank our local heroes, we now need government to provide the funding we so vitally need.

“Our key workers have done their part, we’re now asking the community to join us by signing this letter, which asks government to do theirs.”

Opposition leader, Lib Dem Coun Howard Sykes seconded the call to ask the government for ‘fair funding’ with the public letter.

“Oldham’s local heroes have been working tirelessly to keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“We have to ensure their vital work can continue, no matter the cost.

“Making sure our borough gets the funding it needs goes beyond politics – it is what must be done to keep the people of Oldham safe.”

 

Main image:

Oldham council staff have been called heroes during the pandemic. Photo: Oldham council. 

Weather

  • Thu

    23°C

  • Fri

    22°C

  • Sat

    23°C

  • Sun

    19°C

  • Mon

    22°C