R4U announces UDC steps up action on coronavirus

The R4U led administration at Uttlesford District Council is following government advice for dealing with coronavirus, has plans in place to try to minimise impact to council services, and is working to support local communities.

Petrina Lees (R4U) Petrina Lees (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Petrina Lees, UDC Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing said “Last week the government announced that the UK had moved into the ‘delay phase’ of their coronavirus plan. The NHS has fewer than a quarter of the number of intensive care beds per person than Germany and half as many as France. The government believes that slowing down the spread of Covid-19 will give the NHS the best chance to keep up with demand. Like other local authorities UDC gets regular government briefings. It is vitally important that we closely follow their advice as it is in the national interest.”

“During this pandemic the council will continue to work with the local NHS and volunteer sector to coordinate and support the fantastic effort already happening across our communities to assist older and vulnerable residents who will need to isolate as the virus spreads. With respect to the council’s own services, whilst UDC is not directly responsible for healthcare, we do provide a number of important services that residents rely on. The council’s goal is to maintain those services, even with likely staff shortages due to illness and self-isolation. If there are impacts the focus will clearly be on prioritising services for those residents who are most at risk.”

Cllr Lees added “I have reviewed the council’s plans and am pleased with the scope of the actions being taken, as well as council officers’ adaptability to what is a fast changing environment. Additionally UDC is regularly communicating with all Uttlesford town and parish councils. I have also asked that the council set up regular briefings for local party leaders to ensure they and their councillors are kept up to date with government guidelines and council action plans.”

After the latest government guidance on 17th March UDC has closed its branches in Dunmow and Thaxted, day centres across the district and the Saffron Walden museum. The council provides updates about its services, service status and for residents at uttlesford.gov.uk/coronavirus.

R4U’s Petrina Lees concluded “We all love where we live. Our small local businesses such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, independent and village stores are vital parts of our communities. They will be more affected than most by any loss in trade as people self-isolate. It has been inspiring to see a number of them working with the volunteer sector and neighbours to offer delivery services to those at risk of isolating. We want these independent businesses to remain at the heart of our town and village life. Please, please continue to support them. This is the time to ‘Shop Local’ or we may lose them.  If you are fit and well please also consider donating your time to volunteer groups that are supporting vulnerable residents. At R4U we’ve asked our councillors dig in and help out in their communities where they are able.”