Published on 27 September 2005
Archived on 27 October 2005
Rural areas like Stratford District face cuts in government support for local services if ministers go ahead with proposals to switch money to Inner London boroughs, Cllr Trevor Russel, the district council's Deputy Leader, warned this week.
He was speaking after attending a meeting in York of SPARSE, a coalition of 55 of the England's most rural authorities, which unanimously rejected the proposals.
"The government is consulting on new funding arrangements for local authorities", Cllr Russel said, "and one of the aims is to move money between councils without increasing the total pot.
"Some of the proposals, if implemented, could affect areas like ours very badly indeed. For example, SPARSE councils, counties and districts, could lose between £18m and £29m. The big winners would be Hackney, Islington and Lambeth, even though they consistently budget to spend less than the support they get from Whitehall.
"The government's proposals make no sense whatsoever. Rural authorities already get less support than urban ones, yet ministers are now proposing to take even more from the rural areas to help London. That's unfair and unjust.
"If the proposals go ahead, they are bound to impose serious extra pressures on the district council's budget at a time when we already face a very tough challenge in keeping any rise in council tax as close to inflation as possible.
"We can't afford to lose a single penny in government support, and the council is totally behind SPARSE in trying to kill off these proposals."
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575