The Committee received a presentation from Louise Livingston, Executive Head, Transformation, on the recovery phase to the Council’s Covid-19 response and its preparations for a second wave.
The Borough Council’s emergency response to the pandemic so far had included:
- 1461 tonnes more waste and recycling collected from households compared to a pre-lockdown average
- £15,145,000 of statutory business support grants paid out to 1,189 local firms.
- £825,000 of discretionary business support grants paid out to 99 firms.
- £61,000 of emergency grants awarded to local charities
These were updated figures since the last update heard by the Committee.
The Council’s recovery programme consisted of 6 recovery workstreams, which ranged from communication and member engagement to business support and local economic recovery. The Council’s recovery started with the launch of the Surrey Heath Covid-19 Emergency Charity Grant Scheme and had transitioned to contingency planning for a possible second wave.
The Council’s contingency plan included Covid-19 case monitoring to foot parcel planning and welfare preparation and staffing.
Arising from Members’ questions and comments the following points were noted:
- The economic situation resulting from the pandemic and the ending of the Central Government Furlough scheme would result in job losses and Surrey Heath residents accessing the benefit system who haven’t previously done so. The Council was currently actively reaching out to businesses to make them aware of what support they had available through the Surrey Chambers of Commerce and the Growth Hub. The Council’s Economic Development team were also looking at setting up initiatives in respect of equipping residents with skills and increasing employability as well as specific schemes for 16-24 year olds.
- There was value in a simple and concise one page communication, which could be published in Heathscene and/or on Social Media signposting residents and businesses where they could get help if they were in hardship. This was agreed to be taken forward as a potential initiative by officers.
- As it stood there was no noticeable rise in Surrey Heath residents going back to commuting to London in large numbers. The Council was continuing to encourage compliance with the social distancing guidelines and was taking an active role advising local businesses on how to reopen safely.
- Surrey County Council was working with Surrey’s schools in order to use their parent mails as information channels to pass on information in respect of its Covid-19 response. It was recognised that the Borough Council also had the potential to harness its partnerships with the Borough’s schools as a means of communication.
RESOLVED that a one page, easy reference communication in respect where to get hardship support in light of the pandemic be explored and created.