MP Toby Perkins has accused the Government of a stitch-up after the Chancellor today (February 10) handed hundreds of millions of pounds to the wealthiest Tory councils whilst offering nothing to Chesterfield.
Chesterfield Borough Council has suffered some of the highest spending cuts since 2010, but has received nothing at all in today’s announcement, Toby said.
Meanwhile, leafy Surrey – one of England’s wealthiest shires – was given a hand-out of £24m despite suffering far fewer cuts in recent years and suffering less of a squeeze on public services than Chesterfield.
The top 27 recipients of the grants are all Conservative controlled councils.
Toby told the Derbyshire Times: “Chesterfield has seen some of the harshest cuts over recent years with local services severely impacted.
“It is therefore shocking and scandalous that we have seen the Conservative Government hand out millions to rural Conservative councils whilst leaving Labour councils like Chesterfield without any additional funding at all.
“Unbelievably the top 27 Conservative councils receive £202 million, whilst 175 councils receive nothing at all from the Government.
“Chesterfield has been unfairly neglected by the Government, and I will be writing to the Communities Secretary to seek an urgent explanation from him.”
Conservative MPs became alarmed when they realised their constituencies might soon see cuts similar to those imposed on the rest of the country, and threatened to vote down the Government’s planned cuts until Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced a £300 million ‘transitional grant’, Toby said. The Government have refused to say where the extra money comes from.
Analysis carried out by the Labour Party has shown that £255 million of the grant – 85 per cent – goes to Conservative-run councils. Areas where Labour runs the council receive just £17 million, despite suffering the harshest cuts since 2010 and having higher levels of deprivation.
“The Government is covering up where this money has come from and won’t explain why almost all of it is being handed to Tory councils just weeks before council elections across the country.
“Councils that have already been cut to the bone since 2010 are getting nothing but more cuts. The Tories have picked millions of pounds from taxpayer’s pockets to buy off their own MPs when faced with a rebellion in the House of Commons.
“This is a blatant misuse of public money in a shameless attempt to buy votes and buy off Tory MPs.”
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “This long-term funding settlement for councils is fair, and ensures that councils facing the highest demand for services continue to receive more funding and have higher spending power than less deprived authorities. The transitional funding has gone to those councils facing the biggest fall in central government grant.”
“The settlement, for the first time allows councils to plan with certainty, with almost £200bn to spend on local services and a £3.5bn social care funding package over the lifetime of this parliament.”