Poorer areas have lost out on £1bn since 2010

As the government proposes another adjustment to funding in favour of wealthier areas, council leaders have united to campaign against austerity only for the most deprived.

SIGOMA, a special interest group of 46 urban authorities in the northern, midland and south-coast regions of England, is calling on the government to drop plans to allocate £153 million to the wealthiest authorities in this year’s Local Government Finance Settlement through the negative revenue support grant.

The cross-regional coalition say that by 2020 deprived areas outside London will have lost out on almost £1 billion since 2010 when austerity began, through these proposals and similar policy decisions.

Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and head of the group said: “These latest proposals are the final straw in a pattern of policymaking that has consistently adjusted settlements in favour of some of the wealthiest parts of the country and forced our councils to cut further and faster than most.

“The system is so opaque that government is able to continue claiming its decisions are fair, just as it channels scarce funding to the richest parts of the country. The grim reality is that austerity has not been distributed evenly and some of the wealthiest councils have been consistently insulated from the worst of it by deliberate decisions made in Westminster.

“But the cumulative impact of all this in practice means more deprived areas that face greater costs to support vulnerable residents, our grandmas and grandads and children who don’t have anyone else to look after them, suffer. Quite simply, it isn’t fair. When areas like Knowsley and South Tyneside who have suffered cuts to their core funding of around 30 per cent get nothing whilst areas like Surrey who have lost just four per cent get £27 million out of this latest proposal you know something has to be wrong. The government knows it. It has to stop.”

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