"It could take Gloucester five years to recover"
By Rob Freeman | 27th May 2020
Hand sanitising points, affordable homes, safety grants for community groups and recovering the costs to the council are part of a Liberal Democrat plan to help Gloucester recover from the coronavirus lockdown.
And the local party leader has warned it could take five years for the city to recover.
The Conservative-led Gloucester City Council has appointed Councillor Dawn Melvin as cabinet member for economic recovery to lead the city's response to the crisis.
But the Liberal Democrats have launched their own six-point plan for the city which covers economic recovery, housing, supporting communities, the environment, culture and rebuilding council services.
Among the key proposals are:
- A housing company to provide affordable homes and properties for rent.
- A fund to award grants to groups running community buildings so they can make facilities safer for the public.
- Free hand sanitisation points across the city centre - particularly for public transport users.
- Recovering the full costs to the city council of the lockdown from the Government.
Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Jeremy Hilton: "This is a long-term plan as it could take Gloucester five years to recover from the economic and social damage caused to the city by coronavirus.
"Experts are predicting the economic downturn in the UK will be more severe than the 2008 banking crisis.
"The city council needs to work with local residents, businesses, charities and other organisations to help Gloucester recover."
He continued: "Our six-point plan is a measured response to the challenges Gloucester faces as the city slowly comes out of the lockdown and faces the challenges of the next few years.
"It is not just about the economy but also supporting improvements to housing and recognising and building upon some of the fantastic volunteer-led community work that has been taking place day in, day out across Gloucester."
Deputy leader Councillor Declan Wilson described getting Gloucester back on track as the biggest challenge the city has faced in many of our lifetimes.
He said: "It is absolutely vital that the Government meets the council's full costs of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Meeting the costs of the pandemic only puts the city council back to the financial position of the turn of the year.
"To restart Gloucester's economy, the council is going to require a large cash injection to help local businesses and communities recover."
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