Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said:

“The Spending Review provided some welcome short-term support, but won’t be enough to fully meet boroughs’ costs caused by the pandemic.

“London boroughs still face a funding shortfall of over £500 million this year – even with the support announced by the government. And it can’t be forgotten that the Covid-19 crisis has come after a decade of funding reductions for local authorities, which had already led to unsustainable pressures. We are disappointed that this one-year settlement for local government means we can only plan for the next year and gives us no long term certainty over our finances.

“London boroughs have proven they can deliver results. We’re determined to build back better from this pandemic – including on key challenges like creating jobs, building homes, and tackling inequality and climate change.”

The launch of Restart recognises the huge need to help people adapt to a changing jobs market in the wake of the pandemic.

However, this centralised, top-down programme is an unwelcome reversal of progress made towards employment devolution in London, where the Work and Health Programme is already running with local control and oversight from London boroughs. Thanks to the involvement of local leaders, these programmes are tailored to the unique skills and employment needs of Londoners and the city’s jobs market and are being joined up with other local services.

It is also vital that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is fully devolved to local areas, as it will focus on people most in need and will be tailored to local communities, and that London gains a fair allocation of UKSPF, given it has seen the largest increases in unemployed people compared to any other region since the pandemic.