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Council takes steps to secure fairer funding

Coun Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, and Gloria De Piero MP presented a petition to Downing Street in June calling for fairer funding for the authority.

Coun Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, and Gloria De Piero MP presented a petition to Downing Street in June calling for fairer funding for the authority.

Newly-released figures show that people living in two-tier council areas such as Nottinghamshire only get a third of the funding for local services that people living in some areas of inner London get.

The data has been pounced upon by bosses at County Hall who have been campaigning for a ‘Fair Deal’ for Nottinghamshire County Council in the face of a 21 per cent cut in its revenue support grant from Government.

The Society of County Treasurers study shows that, between 2008/09 and 2012/13, there was a big difference in average Government grant funding for local services depending on the type of council.

While shire counties and districts were given £260 per resident, unitary councils and outer-London authorities got £350-£400 per resident, metropolitan districts were given £500 per resident and Inner London authorities got more than £700 per resident.

The findings have prompted the chairman of the county council’s Finance and Property Committee, Coun David Kirkham to call for an urgent rethink of the way all councils are funded.

Coun Kirkham said: “I appreciate that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to council funding is inappropriate - every area has differing needs - but there needs to be more equality in the way services for local people are funded and a recognition that people outside London need good quality services too.”

With shire counties already lagging behind in the Government funding stakes, Coun Kirkham said that the huge cut to the council’s revenue support grant - equivalent to £63 per resident - is felt even more keenly.

Only five county councils in the whole country saw a larger reduction in ‘spending power’ than Nottinghamshire County Council in the most recent round of cuts to council funding - despite Nottinghamshire having some of the areas of highest deprivation in the country.

Coun Kirkham said: “Despite cutting £100m from budgets and losing a quarter of our workforce, the council is having to cut a further £154m from services by 2017.

“We’re doing everything possible to reduce the impact of these cuts by introducing a raft of new efficiencies and changing the way we work, but ultimately every resident is being affected as a direct result of Government cuts.”

 

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