Westminster’s Public Accounts Committee must investigate the Government favouring wealthy southern councils with funding and leaving the rest of the country with the scraps.
That’s the call from Nottingham City Council deputy leader Councillor Graham Chapman, who points out that a new round of extra Government funding for councils will see £132m go to more affluent, Conservative-led councils in the south, leaving just £21m to be shared out among the rest of the country. This sees the East Midlands allocated just £6m and Nottingham getting nothing.
Surrey County Council – one of the wealthiest in the country – will receive the most for any council at £17 million. This comes on top of them gaining £24m under a previous scheme which saw the vast majority of a £300m pot handed to wealthier southern councils. Under both schemes Nottingham has gained nothing, despite seeing cuts in Government funding of £601 per household compared to just £57 per household in Surrey.
Conservative-led authorities will receive 86% of the new so-called ‘negative RSG’ compensation, amounting to £132 million, on top of receiving 89% of the earlier transition grant – £268 million over two years.
Councillor Chapman says: “This is an abuse of public money. The Government is once again choosing to bail out councils in better-off areas of the south when poorer councils in areas with higher need in the North and Midlands are losing out.
“The skewed way in which this funding is being distributed is so unfair it’s simply indefensible. The Government struggled to properly justify the previous transition grant when responding to numerous Freedom of Information requests on that issue made over the last two years. They must now be brought to account by the Public Accounts Committee to justify this latest scheme.
“It’s not just that the additional funding would merely be nice to have – it’s desperately needed when our main Government grant is being cut from £127m in 2013 to just £25m next year. The councils benefiting from this new funding haven’t seen anything like these levels of cuts in their Government grants, and can raise significantly more in Council Tax, making these allocations utterly unjustifiable. Nottingham people and others across the North and Midlands are losing out on millions of pounds of extra funding which would help support the vital council services they rely on.”
Breakdown of ‘negative RSG’ funding by region:
|YORKSHIRE & THE HUMBER||5.3||3%|
The full list of councils benefitting from ‘negative RSG’ funding:
|2019/20 “negative RSG” adjustment|
|Windsor & Maidenhead||Unitary||2.2|