Suffolk leaders pledge £6.2m in Covid-19 recovery projects

Felixstowe high street at 1.30pm on the first day of the new Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions

Suffolk Public Sector Leaders has pledged £6.2m from pooled business rates to help with Covid-19 recovery - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A £6.2million commitment to helping Suffolk recover from the Covid-19 pandemic has been given by council, health, police and business leaders.

The Suffolk Public Sector Leaders gathering of council, health, police and Local Enterprise Partnership bosses on Friday gave its approval for the seven-figure pot across a handful of priority areas, including housing, climate change, families, infrastructure and businesses.

Combined with £3.5million already committed from September last year, it marks a £9.7m funding package from pooled business rates to help Suffolk emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.

Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk leader, has also withdrawn support for the scheme. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader who chairs the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group - Credit: Paul Geater

In-principle funding agreed on Friday included:

  • £500,000 to the Get Suffolk Reading campaign with the National Literacy Trust
  • £1m to address housing inequalities, poverty and homelessness
  • £200,000 for young people's mental health support
  • £400,000 support for troubled families
  • £500,000 for early intervention assistance and preventing crisis
  • £89,000 for ongoing engagement work
  • £1million commitment to the Haughley Junction rail upgrades
  • £1.05m to extend the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund for another year

Detailed business cases will come forward for those projects for final sign off by leaders through the rest of the year.

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Mid Suffolk District Council leader Suzie Morley, who chairs the public sector leaders group, said: “Together we are demonstrating our commitment to what Suffolk’s recovery hopefully looks like and feels like for residents and businesses.

Ian Gallin, chief executive at West Suffolk Council, said it was an "historic day". Picture: GREGG B

Ian Gallin, West Suffolk Council chief executive

"As part of this, we remain absolutely determined to take the opportunity given to us to reduce inequalities and improve outcomes for everyone in Suffolk. Our approach is based on understanding the evidence, engaging with our communities and leading collaboratively to achieve positive outcomes.”

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Ian Gallin, West Suffolk Council chief executive who has led the strategy work, said it was a "strong and robust package" and added: "Overall, its about improving the outcomes for everyone in Suffolk and reducing those inequalities."

Cash already agreed from last September included £1.35m to tackle gangs and youth violence; £800,000 welfare assistance; £1.3m for the initial Inclusive Growth Investment Fund and £100,000 for work on drawing up the climate change plan.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said extending the One Step Closer scheme to all ages would help those made...

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths - Credit: MARIAM GHAEMI

Those measures will sit alongside work already being carried out by the individual authorities.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said the balance of support was right and hoped it would trigger more government funding for the initiatives.

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