Northampton

Northamptonshire County Council: Appeal for 'fairer funding'

Northamptonshire County Council Image copyright Google
Image caption Northamptonshire County Council leader Heather Smith has called for an "urgent review" of the government's funding formula

A Conservative county council leader has called on the government for more funding, saying the authority "can't carry on" with present grants.

Northamptonshire councillor Heather Smith is calling for "fairer funding" from the government.

"They [the government] either want us to be able to provide local services or they don't. We can't carry on as we are," she said.

The government said it was working to reform local government finance.

The county council has launched a campaign for a fairer funding deal with a direct appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Image caption Mrs Smith said the council received "significantly less" in government funds than other authorities

The council said it had one of the fastest growing populations in England and said demand for services was growing at an unprecedented rate.

However, it said the government's current funding formula did not take into account today's demand levels and population data.

The authority said that if it received the same funding per head of population as East Sussex County Council, for example, which has a significantly smaller population, it would receive an extra £115m to spend on local services every year. This equates to an additional £159 per person.

Mrs Smith has now written to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to call for an urgent review of the current funding formula.

She said: "While we have always managed to deliver a balanced budget, it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance the increasing demand for local services against the reducing level of funding we receive from central government - which is significantly less than many comparable county councils.

"We need an urgent review of the government's funding formula for local councils to ensure we get a fair deal for residents."

A DCLG spokesman said: "We're now working with councils to reform local government finance and are committed to further business rate retention, giving them even greater control over the money they raise."

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