Are local funding levels behind Leicester’s lockdown?

Are local funding levels behind Leicester’s lockdown?

Covid 19 sign
Images: Pexels

 

Leicester has become the first city in the UK to enter a local lockdown. And this appears to throw weight behind The Working Group's findings

 

Our research, released last week, concluded that deprivation - based on the UK government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) - was “a major causal factor in high Covid 19 death rates” within a “complex situation”.

It further revealed that the city’s average IMD decile sits at just 3.40625, out of a possible ten points. This puts the area in the top third of most deprived regions in England - based on government data.

As the second most deprived of the East Midlands' 34 regions (behind Nottingham), Leicester illustrates the effects of government cuts on urban communities.

 

Woman shares hand sanitiser with man - image credit Pexels, Gustavo Fring

 

What part has local funding played?

Previous data revealed that Leicester received £20,771,963 in government COVID-19 funding (£51 per person), along with £985,653 for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue - which covers the city. 

 

Meanwhile, the West Midlands centre of Birmingham received £70,309,507 in funding (£61 per person) - while both cities have similar IMD scores.

 

What else do we know?

Birmingham was hit hard by Covid 19, at the end of March, and experienced a short spike in recent weeks.  But Leicester is currently the centre of the UK’s coronavirus pandemic, housing "10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”, and a total of 944 positive tests.

 

Scientist carrying out coronavirus test - image credit Pexels, Chokniti Khongchum

 

In response, Leicester’s Labour Mayor, Peter Soulsby asked the government for more data on the local situation.  And called for “a better understanding of the addresses of the people [infected]" including “if possible, even their place of work",  in a telephone call to the Prime Minister.

 

So we may need to carry out further analysis, before drawing any concrete conclusions.  Stories have also emerged about potential problems in the local textile industry as we write.

 

But, for now, the Leicester City Council region and surrounding areas - like Oadby and Birstall - are back under restriction. And all schools, non-essential retail and hospitality establishments have been forcibly closed. Just as outlets across other areas of the country reopen.

 

Shop closed due to coronavirus - image credit Pexels, Kaque Rocha

 

The lockdown coincided with Boris Johnson’s post-Covid spending plan launch, in the West Midlands - interestingly. Where it emerged local leaders, including Conservative Mayor Andy Street,had asked for £3.2bn in funds, just last week.

So is Leicester’s Covid 19 crisis local funding related? It would appear so. But we’ll watch this story closely, as more details emerge.