COVID-19 Crisis fund to Luton for essential services

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Fiona Martin
Fiona Martin signed this petition

Sign this petition if you agree the government needs to provide a crisis fund to Luton to stop essential services for our most vulnerable people being drastically cut or closed from as early as July 2020.
 
Luton Council 
 
With operations at London Luton Airport catastrophically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the income that Luton Council receives from its airport company is unlikely to be made at all in the next two years, leaving essential services across Luton in crisis. 
 
In 2018/19 London Luton Airport Ltd paid £20.2 million dividends to Luton Council so it could fund vital services. Other payments to the council added a further £12.3 million.
 
To put it in perspective, the reduction of funding the council usually receives from the airport equates to the combined total of:
- 50 street cleaners. 
- all street lighting in the town. 
- all highways repair & maintenance. 
- the social care needs for 60 looked-after children. 
- the social care needs of 270 older people or adults with disabilities. 
- provision of 180 temporary accommodation units to relieve homelessness.

Facing a £49 million impact on its 2020/21 budget due to the reduction in revenue from its airport company, a drop in council tax and business rates and other costs due to the crisis, the council is having to make plans for an emergency budget in July, which would include major cuts and closures of services.
 
Voluntary and charitable organisations
 
And it’s not just council services that are at risk. Since 2002, London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) has additionally provided £140 million to local charities and voluntary organisations in Luton and the surrounding region. In 2019/20, LLAL’s donation was £9.4 million.
 
This helped charities provide local services that improve: health and wellbeing; the environment and economic development; children and young people; and safer and stronger communities.
 
Just some of the local charities which have been supported by grants include:
- Luton Foodbank – working to eradicate food poverty in Luton
- Citizens Advice - free, confidential information and advice to assist people with money, legal, consumer and other problems
- Age Concern Luton – vital support for the elderly and their carers
- NOAH Enterprises – practical, empowering and caring service for the homeless 
- CHUMS – mental health and wellbeing service for children and young people
- Luton Irish Forum – advice and support about welfare benefits, housing and community care
- Keech Hospice Care – supporting home services for family and carers
- Signposts – residential and support services for the homeless
- Women’s Aid Luton – support for women who have been victims of abuse and violence
- Luton’s libraries, leisure centres and museums 

With the current situation, these charities and the many more that are funded through LLAL’s Community Investment Fund may face cuts to the awards they receive, leaving services to vulnerable people exposed.
 
The wider impact
 
Economic activity related to London Luton Airport supports 27,000 jobs across Luton, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Without a successful economic recovery, tens of thousands of people could suffer unemployment as well as a lack of essential support and services in already economically and emotionally hard times.
 
Please sign the petition today.