Mayor Soulsby reveals Leicester City Council plans for COVID-19 crisis

By Oliver Taylor

Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby assured that Leicester City Council will support the city during the COVID-19 crisis at tonight’s Council meeting.

Mayor Soulsby revealed there are now five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Leicester.

Mayor Soulsby said: “Our duty is now clear. A duty to protect loved ones, to protect neighbors, friends, to protect key workers and to protect our fellow citizens.

“Be assured, we will continue, as we have already undertaken this week, to brief staff, to brief councillors, to brief the local media and to let the wider public know what we’re doing and how we are doing it.

“Be under no doubt, too, that whatever we do will be guided by expert advice and by robust data.”

The Council can use emergency spending money, as outlined in the Council’s constitution, to help manage and support the city during the crisis.

While De Montfort Hall has been closed indefinitely, libraries, leisure centres and museums will remain open. Classes have been cancelled in those facilities and deep cleaning schedules have been established.

Urgent planning has begun to manage school closures, ensuring provisions for children with care plans and key workers.

The Council will not pursue any Council Tax arrears that arise during the COVID-19 crisis. There will also be no evictions from Council properties due to a lack of income.

Mayor Soulsby also announced he will utilise the uncapped Hardship Fund to fund schemes such as discretionary housing support and emergency living grants. The current budget, £27 million, will be increased as necessary.

Mayor Soulsby admitted “There is no point pretending that the Council’s responsibility to serve and protect people in the city won’t be severely tested. There are going to be some very difficult times ahead.

“I cannot pretend we have all the answer, but I can assure you and colleagues that we are asking the right questions and that whatever we do will be driven by that clear priority; to protect the vulnerable in our city.”