The Scandal of Councils in Affluent Areas Getting a Better Deal

A copy of my published letter to the Guardian on the unfair funding of local authorities.

“Owen Jones (A quiet crisis? No, we’re just not listening, 13 September) is right that Brexit is overshadowing the issue of crippling government cuts to council funding. This is a national scandal that is having and will continue to have an impact on people’s lives at least as significant as Brexit. Eight years of austerity has seen Nottingham’s main government funding slashed from £127m to £25m, despite the city council serving some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. Councils serving affluent areas are not only getting a better deal under the government’s unfair funding formula, but have also benefited from extra government handouts over the last few years.

Surrey county council, one of the wealthiest authorities in the country, benefited from £24m of a fund designed to soften the blow of the cuts – the most for any council – while councils like ours received nothing. The government has refused to tell us its criteria for allocation. However, what’s clear is that Conservative-led authorities benefited from 89% of the £300m provided over two years, and are now set to get 86% of the further £153m being allocated under a new scheme. Surrey will get £17m and, again, we get nothing.

It’s high time that this was taken seriously at a national level, given the devastating effect that austerity is having on our communities.”