‘Rapid response’ support unit launched for local authorities

A new “rapid response” unit has been unveiled to provide support to local authorities facing severe short-term difficulties following the failures of Icelandic banks.

The unit, a joint creation by the government, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Improvement and Development Agency, was announced by communities secretary Hazel Blears on Tuesday. It is made up of experts in local authority financial management who can travel immediately to any councils that need assistance.

Blears said she had worked with the LGA to ensure individual authorities had the necessary assistance.

“We are taking this action to protect council taxpayers, communities and those public services on which the most vulnerable people in our society depend,” she said.

Blears also said that many local authorities had already publicly stated that any risk they faced was not a threat to front-line services, and that none had told the LGA they would be unable to pay staff wages.

More than 100 councils had money in Icelandic institutions, and it was reported on Monday that several would struggle to pay their employees.

Comments are closed.