No ‘covid marshals’ here, north London councils say
PUBLISHED: 12:31 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:15 20 September 2020
Two north London councils have told government that if it wants them to deploy “covid marshals” on their streets, it needs to stump up the cash.
Camden and Haringey councils said they had already redeployed staff and incurred huge costs to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Camden councillor Danny Beales said: “The government should put its money where its mouth is.”
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference that teams of covid marshals would “boost the local enforcement capacity”, as the new “rule of six” came into effect.
But Camden and Haringey councils have both questioned this week how government expects councils to deliver on the proposal.
Haringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said: “We have spent millions on protecting our residents and delivering essential services during this global coronavirus pandemic and some of our staff have changed roles to ensure everyone is looked after. We now need clear guidance on any new responsibilities and if the new wardens will be fully funded.
“Coronavirus has had a £70m impact on Haringey Council’s finances and we continue to call on central government to keep its word and fund us properly, as they promised to do at the start of the pandemic. We cannot be saving lives today and worrying about how we are going to pay for it tomorrow.”
Danny Beales, Camden’s cabinet member for investing in communities, echoed Cllr Ejiofor’s comments.
He said council staff had already been patrolling and offering advice to residents and businesses “seven days a week, since early April”.
He continued: “The government should put its money where its mouth its and properly fund council for the services it is providing. If the government wants us to expand and continue this team for the long term, they must provide the funding to do so.”
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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government did not specifically address the funding issue, but said in a statement: “Some areas of the country have already introduced marshals to support the public in following the guidelines in a friendly way and we will be working with councils to see where else they are needed.”
It added that further details of the marshal scheme would be announced soon.
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