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Mayor's fair funding call to Government

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has this week urged the Government to up its support for the town as it battles to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

And he has called on Tees MP and Minister of State for Regional Growth & Local Government Simon Clarke to press the town's case for a fair deal.

In a letter - jointly signed by Chief Executive Tony Parkinson - to the Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland MP, Mr Preston pledged to continue supporting the Government's drive to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

But while he welcomed the £9 million in additional Government funding provided to help the Council address financial challenges created by the crisis, he said more support was imperative.

Mayor Preston said: "Covid-19 presents a major health risk to the town and there are clearly massive financial issues too.

"I know Simon Clarke shares our passion for Middlesbrough. We speak regularly and the chief executive and I have made it clear the council needs extra support."

Monday's letter to Mr Clarke stated: "We've carefully tracked the financial impact of the epidemic and recorded relevant issues in detail. 

"It's already clear that the total cost of us providing extra services and help will soon amount to millions over and above the £9m government funding provided to date.

"What alarms us most of all is that infection and death rates in Middlesbrough are growing fast.

"We are already the fourth most infected borough in the country and this looks to get a lot worse.

"London may have passed its peak but we could have worse to come.

"This awful predicament sits in the context of an already tough financial environment, driven by pressures to look after vulnerable people and in particular caring for children."

Mr Preston added that the Council would remain solvent and financially responsible, but warned that without further funding services would have to be cut.

He continued: "We know how passionate you are about Middlesbrough and its people and that you would share our ambition that recovery takes place as quickly as possible.

"We therefore ask you to consider urgently the need to provide more funding for councils to help Middlesbrough to withstand and recover from Covid-19."

Read the full letter to Simon Clarke MP.

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Read the latest advice from Government and Public Health England.

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