Friday, 20 December 2013

The unfair funding of Cornwall continues with renewed vigour

The further cuts to local authorities has been announced, it's unfair across the board. Although the job of local authorities is the front line of public service they have faced cuts of 8.2% whereas the average across government is a 1% cut. I don't think it's of a great surprise that government has chosen to protect it's own budgets for it's own departments and palmed off the cuts to others.

But in the case of Cornwall specifically we know we are hugely underfunded, unfortunately these cuts have increased this situation. Cornish residents and Cornwall itself now face a situation where council tax will rise next year and yet even statutory services are at risk of not being delivered, specifically care for the most vulnerable. Alongside the level of services, such as public toilets and libraries are reducing, welfare benefits are being slashed. Due to cuts in local government finance and the Tories and Liberal Democrats choosing to offload the harshest cuts and the hardest decisions downward to councils like here in Cornwall, we will pay more and we will get considerably less and this situation will grow worse in the coming years.

Andrew George MP expressed his frustration at the 'chickenfeed' increase to Cornwall and other rural authorities funding, as the Western Morning News title so aptly puts it: No Sign of Fair Funding for Cornwall.

Again someone in the know, again from an unusual quarter, backs this up:

"We must also point out to Government in the strongest of terms that there are enormous 
inequalities in public funding for Cornwall at the moment. I am told that Cornwall has 50% less 
per head of population to spend on Council services that the average urban council. Is that fair? 

Per person, per year, Cornish people get £78 less grant funding, pay £73 more council tax and 
earn on average £6,300 less than city dwellers! 

Officers at Lys Kernow estimate that closing the gap between rural and urban funding would 
provide Cornwall with an extra £16 million after 5 years."

This quote is from John Pollard, politicial leader of Cornwall Council and an Independent.

I'll end with this picture from the organisation SIGOMA (Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities). They have created a map illustrating, how the cuts effect local authorities:

Is it any wonder we are one of the poorest parts of the UK?