An update from Bolton Labour Leader, Cllr Nick Peel:
“I want to pay a massive tribute to not only the army of volunteers in Bolton, but to our brilliant council staff who have risen to the challenge of Covid 19. Everyone who has done their bit deserves a medal.
The Labour Group will continue to work in a constructive dialogue with the Conservative Council whilst we are still working away through the effects of this pandemic, but we will not hold back on strongly challenging where need be.
Labour are already persuaded that the Conservative government’s record on confronting the pandemic is amongst the worst in the world.
There were delays in implementing lock-down; nursing homes were ‘forgotten’ by the Government, leading to avoidable infections; Lifesaving PPE equipment was not available; it required the Army to be brought in. In addition, the UK has the highest health worker deaths in Europe and the UK official death toll is the worst in Europe. Now we are dealing with confused and mixed messages about the relaxation of lock-down, and the real danger of schools reopening too quickly.
The Council’s priority is, rightly, to continue to run services and protect our staff and the public, but I am asking for full scrutiny into how all of these issues have affected the people of Bolton and are still affecting the people of Bolton, as soon as the Council is in a position to carry this out.
In addition, the crisis has left this council with a massive financial black hole, with serious Government underfunding. Our budgets have already been harshly slashed by Tory austerity for a decade, and the pandemic has now led to a financial crisis across all councils. I am calling for urgent reports to be brought forward as soon as possible so that all councillors and the people of Bolton are fully aware of the effect the funding problem will have on services.”