Local councils in England will be given an additional £1.6bn to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.
The money is in addition to the £1.6bn already given to local authorities since the start of the outbreak.
Speaking at the Number 10 briefing, Mr Jenrick said there appears to be a “disproportionate impact” of the virus on those from BAME communities.
He said research needs to be done “swiftly” to “better understand it”.
Councils face increased costs from supporting vulnerable people and providing essential services.
In a letter to all councils in England, Mr Jenrick said they were the “unsung heroes” of the coronavirus response who are helping to keep the country moving.
He wrote: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with local government and my priority is to make sure they are supported so they can continue to support their communities through this challenging time.
“Up and down the country, council workers are the unsung heroes as we tackle this virus. They are in the front line of the national effort to keep the public safe and deliver the services people need.”
He said the new total of £3.2bn in funding meant an extra £300m would go to the devolved administrations – £155m for Scotland, £95m for Wales and £50m for Northern Ireland.
Before today’s funding announcement, Richard Watts, the Local Government Association’s resource chairman, warned Mr Jenrick of “extreme cost-cutting”.
In a letter to the minister he thanked him for his “hard work on behalf of local government” but said the cash was an “insufficient sum”.