South West Peninsula councils join the fight for fairer funding

Leaders of Devon, Isles of Scilly, Plymouth, Somerset, Torbay and Dorset Councils have joined Cornwall Council in calling for central government to provide more funding to stretched rural councils.

Cornwall Council Leader, Adam Paynter, asked fellow council Leaders across the South West to join together in calling for a change to unfair funding which sees rural authorities under increasing pressure. The open letter signals the level of discontent in the South West about the challenging financial landscape local authorities are facing.

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“The current funding formula is a post code lottery favouring metropolitan areas, rather than based on need. Most of us are being forced to bridge the gap between Government funding and demand for services through raising council taxes and generating income, which just hits residents harder.

“In Cornwall funding for our children’s services is in the bottom 7 out of 56 Unitary Authorities. We also expect Cornwall’s population of over 85s to increase by 31% more than in the rest of the UKin the next 20 years. This will put more pressure on services to protect the most vulnerable in society.

“My colleagues across the South West face similar challenges. This letter makes it clear that the funding settlement for local authorities is inadequate. The system is unsustainable and needs fundamental reform,” he said.

Cornwall Council is running a fair funding campaign asking businesses and residents to #StandUpForCornwall and sign a pledge asking central government to implement a fairer funding formula which could deliver an extra £39 million for services for people in Cornwall. The current model is based on historical, outdated formulas which means that funding allocations in metropolitan and rural areas are widely different.

 

Story posted 12 February 2018