Aberdeen,
20
March
2020
|
18:40
Europe/Amsterdam

Council agrees wide-ranging measures to combat COVID-19 impact

Aberdeen City Council today agreed a range of measures to help maintain public services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Council’s decision-making structure will be temporarily streamlined to allow faster decision-making, whilst maintaining robust governance arrangements and political oversight.

A meeting of the Urgent Business Committee also agreed a Financial Resilience Plan to protect citizens, businesses and the Council.

This will include implementing relief/grant schemes for businesses in line with Scottish Government guidance and exploring delaying the annual billing of Non-Domestic Rates. In addition, the Council will consider suspending new recovery activity for unpaid debt, including Council Tax.

Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are working with partners at all levels to ensure the welfare of our citizens while protecting the institutions they depend upon. Our staff are continuing to provide core services, ensuring provision for those in vulnerable groups during this very difficult period, and we should applaud their efforts.

“As an organisation we are in constant communication with UK and Scottish Government, promoting the latest advice around public safety and ways to accommodate and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives.

“Today we streamlined committees involving all political group leaders to make appropriate decisions swiftly, which will allow us to implement relief and support packages as passed down to local government. This is a time for coming together and working as one as we face up to this unprecedented pandemic.”

Urgent Business Committee meetings will be arranged as required between 23 March and 21 August 2020 to determine business of an urgent nature which would have been otherwise reported to Council, Committee or Sub-Committees.

Angela Scott, chief executive of Aberdeen City Council, said: “The role of public bodies is to prepare for such events and to be ready to respond in order to protect people from harm and then to help them recover. Aberdeen city council staff and our partners are all responding to this health pandemic in a co-ordinated and planned way.

“We tend to see the best of people in a crisis and the groundswell of offers of support from the public to the Council and other partners is a testament to that. To this point, the priority has been securing the re-alignment of the multi-agency resource to coronavirus whilst trying to understand the impact on our own capacity.

“The next consideration is how to mobilise the goodwill that exists across the communities in Aberdeen.

“Aberdeen City Council staff have been exemplary in their response to this situation and I’m confident, that working with partners, we will support the city to the best of our abilities for as long as is required.”