Earlier this week, new figures published by the Tory-led Local Government Association (LGA) reveal the true impact of the Conservatives’ so-called ‘Fair Funding Review’, with hundreds of millions of pounds set to be funnelled from metropolitan councils like Stoke-on-Trent and Rotherham towards Tory shire county councils including Surrey and Buckinghamshire.
The new LGA figures reveal metropolitan boroughs are set to lose almost £300m in adult social care funding under the government’s proposed new funding formula – the vast majority of which (£250m) will be diverted to Shire counties under the Tories’ proposed new funding formula.
For Rotherham, these changes would mean another £6 million of cuts. This is on top of the £200 million the Tories have cut from our budget since 2010.
Cllr Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham Council, has said:
“Following the £200 million funding gap imposed by the Tories on Rotherham Council over the last decade I suppose we shouldn’t expect anything else, but after all the talk of ‘levelling up’ the fact that they are still even considering shifting resources away from Rotherham and into wealthier parts of the country is just another kick in the teeth.
“This latest information from the Local Government Association comes just weeks after the government announced it would be maintaining funding for the Troubled Families initiative, which actually meant they are cutting £400,000 from Rotherham.”
This latest information from the LGA comes just weeks after the government announced it would be maintaining funding for the Troubled Families initiative, which actually meant they are cutting £400,000 from Rotherham.
The changes in the Fair Funding Review flow from a new formula which dramatically downgrades the importance of deprivation in assessing need, in favour of ‘per head’ funding. These proposals hit traditional Labour areas hard – but following the 2019 General Election they now strike at the heart of the Tories’ new ‘Red Wall’ MPs in the North of England. Over 70% of new Conservative MPs (37) represent communities hit by the change.
Labour’s Shadow Local Government Secretary Andrew Gwynne MP, alongside local Labour Council leaders will be writing to Tory MPs in affected areas asking them to back Labour in opposing these unfair changes. Labour plans to use a forthcoming Opposition Day Debate to force the Government to account for the changes in Parliament.
Cllr Chris Read has also said: “If press reports are to be believed, the Government are also thinking of reviving the plan to make councils more dependent on local business rates – which again could cost our area millions.
“Whilst we have some much needed respite in the current one year spending round, the longer term outlook for funding council services remains very uncertain. I will be writing to the borough’s MPs urging them to ask the government to think again.”