Grant backs group campaign to put a stop to ‘unfair cuts’

Coun Grant Davey.
Coun Grant Davey.

The leader of Northumberland County Council has added his weight to calls by the Local Government Association’s County Council Network (LGA CCN) group for a funding re-think.

Grant Davey says the gap between authorities with large rural areas like Northumberland and urban councils is far too great and it is unfair on residents.

He highlighted figures from the LGA CCN which show that by 2019, a proposed £6.85 will be spent per head in rural areas by the government in grant funding as opposed to £66.82 per resident in metropolitan areas.

The grant for Northumberland is set to fall from £397.75million to £293.66million in 2019.

Simon Edwards, director of the network, has written to the government ahead of a debate in Parliament next month stating that vital services ‘could be at imminent risk’ because of the recently announced funding package.

Coun Davey said: “The Conservative-led LGA CCN is not a Labour ‘front organisation’, yet it has highlighted the damaging cocktail of cuts set to hit county councils with rural communities.

“It can’t be fair that the government is cutting the grant to rural communities while featherbedding the funding package for metropolitan areas.

“We have a very challenging budget settlement, which is being squeezed further by a government that seems intent on punishing rural communities, and it’s time Conservative elected representatives across Northumberland ended their ‘self-imposed purdah’ over the scale of their government’s cuts and got behind this campaign to change its mind over the scale of cuts to rural communities.”