Speaking at Communities and Local Government Questions, Emma asked Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis MP to explain why areas with the greatest need faced spending cuts ten times greater than areas with relatively little poverty.
“Despite having higher levels of deprivation local authorities like my own are seeing deeper cuts than well-off areas. By 2016 spending per household in the North East will have fallen by £296, compared with the national average of £233. Does the Minister recognise that this will make existing inequalities between the regions worse?”
Mr Lewis claimed that total spending in South Tyneside is still higher than in other areas, but his own department’s Local Government Finance Settlement South Tyneside’s spending power will have been cut by 24% between 2010 and 2016. You can read the official record of Emma’s question and the Minister’s reply by clicking here.
Altogether the ten most deprived local authorities in the country face spending power cuts of over a quarter, while in the ten least deprived areas the figure is just 2.5%. The Prime Minister’s own authority of West Oxfordshire will actually see its spending power increase during this period, despite being one of the least deprived council areas in Britain.
Speaking after Communities and Local Government Questions, Emma said:
“The Minister is not fooling anyone. Local government has had to find £20bn worth of savings between 2010 and 2016 because of the Coalition’s budget cuts, and by the Government’s own definition of spending power it is clear that most of the burden is falling on poorer areas.
“During a cost of living crisis vulnerable people such as the elderly, carers and looked after children and their families need to be able to access local support, but the Government is cutting these services exactly where they are needed most.”
Labour will end the bias against poor areas by reviewing the funding formula used by the Government to make sure funding is spread more fairly.