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Council staff may redeploy into frontline care roles – as leaders unite to tackle coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 18:10 22 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:10 22 March 2020

Matthew Hicks (left), Leader of Suffolk County Council, Sarah Adams (bottom right), Leader of the Labour Group and Cllr Penny Otton (top right) Leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN/ARCHANT

Matthew Hicks (left), Leader of Suffolk County Council, Sarah Adams (bottom right), Leader of the Labour Group and Cllr Penny Otton (top right) Leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN/ARCHANT

Archant

Council staff could be redeployed into frontline social care services, it has emerged, as party leaders in Suffolk unite to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement made by Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, Sarah Adams, Leader of the Labour Group and Penny Otton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group, all parties vowed to “cast aside political differences” to unite around tackling COVID-19.

The county councillors confirmed in a long list of action to be taken over the coming weeks that staff will be redeployed into frontline social care roles.

The statement said: “There can be no doubt, the impact of COVID-19 will be felt in all areas of Suffolk, from our urban neighbourhoods to our rural hamlets.

“It will be felt by our toddlers and children, some of whom will miss their schools, playgroups and nurseries.

“It will push to the limit our businesses, who may struggle to maintain daily operations or have had to close.

“It will be very real for our elderly and vulnerable residents, for whom self-isolation and social distancing will be necessities but also a significant worry.

“It will change lives.

“It will demand that each one of us lives very differently for a relatively short while if we are to stand any chance of beating this virus.

“This means we must all be selfless and do the right thing for society even if it negatively impacts on us.”

The list of “core actions” includes measures to help protect the most vulnerable residents in Suffolk by providing them with easy access to advice, the right practical support and provision of essential public services.

The councillors also vowed work with schools to implement the Government’s school closure arrangements, including free school meals, support for vulnerable children and children of key workers.

They also confirmed support for the fire service, highways agency, district and borough councils as well as local businesses.

Work has also begun on plans to help Suffolk’s communities and economy recover in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The statement concluded: “We face no greater challenge. Whilst we may not always be able to do as much as we want, we assure you that we are mobilising every resource and asset we have to protect and support our people and our county.

Our great communities, businesses, schools and our public services and health colleagues are united in this fight to save lives, protect those most vulnerable and support our communities.

“Thank you for the sacrifices you are making to help us to do what’s right for Suffolk.”


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