Northumberland’s rural residents ‘unfairly targeted by Osborne’ says leader as new figures reveal government will contribute as little as £6.85 per resident in Northumberland versus £66.82 in metropolitan boroughs like North Tyneside by 2019
Northumberland County Council and Labour group leader Grant Davey today rounded on the Conservative government after it emerged that rural residents in Northumberland faced a ‘rural raid’ as the county budget was set to be slashed by a staggering 82.4% by 2019.
This means that residents in some of the most sparsely populated areas in England will see just £6.85 spent on them per person compared to a massive £66.82 in urban areas like neighbouring North Tyneside. It was also revealed by the non-political County Council Network that it costs around 3 times more to deliver vital services in rural areas compared with urban ones and the leader says ‘the cuts will undoubtedly hit the most rural areas hardest’ as a the council prepares to implement the so called ‘80% raid on rural coffers’.
He’s now urging local MP’s Guy Opperman and Anne Marie Trevelyan to ‘come clean with local residents about the long term impact of Chancellor George Osborne’s latest austerity budget on local government. He wants them to put pressure on their government to implement a ‘fair funding settlement’ for Northumberland and its rural areas.
As grant funding decreases in Northumberland, the government is expecting local authorities to raise more by local taxation and Cllr Davey is pointing to the disappointing settlement for Fire and Rescue services in Northumberland as further evidence of the Conservative move to tax more locally. Labour say that currently for every pound granted by the government to Northumberland Fire and Rescue services, local tax payers stump up £2.50 yet they say the situation will get even worse by 2019 when the ratio will be close to £1 to £8.50 for local tax payers.
Grant Davey said
“We face a funding crisis of Tory making and local Conservatives are trying to mislead local people. These figures aren’t ‘Labour party figures’, they’re figures and issues highlighted by the LGA Conservative dominated County Council Network (CCN) and SPARSE, the rural council’s lobby group. Both groups have raised the so called ‘rural raid’ with the PM and they’ve briefed MP’s in rural constituencies yet all we hear from Northumberland’s Tories is what a good deal Osbourne is offering local councils. I’ve got news for them, it isn’t a good deal and they’re defending the indefensible. They need to stand up for rural communities in their constituencies. They can start by backing my campaign in the devolution negotiations for fair funding for rural council’s and put right this rural ‘raid’ on the council’s finances.”