Campaigning for funding “fair share” for Cornwall
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has presented a petition supported by over a thousand of his constituents calling on the Government to end years of underfunding for rural local authorities like Cornwall Council. He presented his petition last Thursday evening (31st October). Other mostly Coalition MPs will present theirs this evening in the House of Commons.
The campaign highlights analysis of Central Government to local authority grant aid by the Rural Services Network – a group of rural local authorities. This shows that, on average, rural councils receive 50% less money per head than their urban counterparts. This is due to a skewed funding formula, adopted by successive Governments.
Mr George said: “If funding were being distributed to local authorities on the basis of need and social deprivation then places like Cornwall would be receiving above, rather than below the national average. This underfunding has a direct impact upon the ability of Cornwall Council to maintain rural bus services, meet the care needs of its elderly and disabled people, maintain a network of viable village schools, fully support school pupils in a way which many other parts of the country simply take for granted, maintain a fire and rescue service, and fulfil other essential functions like waste management and filling highway potholes and backing essential economic development projects and many other essential local authority services.
“Cornwall is presently facing a massive budgetary challenge. If the Government gave Cornwall the funding it deserves it could concentrate more on improving and developing services rather than on cutting budgets.”
The petition declares:
‘That the petitioners believe that the Local Government Finance Settlement is unfair to rural communities; notes that the Rural Penalty sees urban areas receive 50% more support per head than rural areas despite higher costs in rural service delivery; and opposes the planned freezing of this inequity in the 2013/14 settlement for six years until 2020.
‘The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to reduce the Rural Penalty in staged steps by at least 10% by 2020.
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