City of Wolverhampton Council has written to Central Government seeking assurances over future funding as it continues to support residents during the unprecedented coronavirus response.

Council leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, has written to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, expressing "frustration and disappointment" that the latest award of emergency Government funding was less than expected. 

Last week's allocation of £7.3 million was £2.1 million less than what was awarded in the previous funding round which has led to fears that future funding may not cover costs incurred as the impact of the coronavirus crisis is likely to be felt for a long time to come.

Since lockdown, the council has had to spend considerable sums on crucial new services, such as the creation of an emergency food hub which has so far distributed more than 14,000 parcels to vulnerable households.

The council also faces a loss of income from various sources, including council tax, business rates and car parks - the full impact of which may not be known for some time. 

In his letter, Councillor Brookfield has called on Mr Jenrick to provide assurances that there will be more emergency funding released to the council which reflects additional spend and lost income and that the future funding formula for local government will take into account that Wolverhampton is a deprived city which has been hit harder by coronavirus than more affluent areas.

He wrote: “The City of Wolverhampton Council has responded to the unprecedented challenges we face with decisive and swift action to support vulnerable citizens – doing, as you yourself have said, whatever is necessary to support city people and businesses. 

“We believe we have done what’s right, but we know this will create additional cost pressures. 

“Our city is one of the most deprived in the country. It has been hit hard by the virus. Indeed, national figures highlight this unfortunate connection – patients from the poorest communities represent 50% of all critically ill patients with coronavirus. 

“So, you can perhaps understand my disappointment and frustration at the announcement that our allocation from the Government’s second wave of emergency funding is £2.1 million less than the first round - £7.3 million compared to £9.4 million.”

Councillor Brookfield has also offered to speak directly to Mr Jenrick to explain the challenges facing a local council on the ground.