RAW DEAL: Council tax bills in Peterborough could be nearly halved

If Peterborough received the same funding for its council as London receives every resident here could have their council tax bill nearly halved.

Sunday, 11th March 2018, 6:57 am
Updated Monday, 12th March 2018, 9:34 am
Councillors John Holdich and David Seaton with budget proposals. EMN-170127-165644009

Peterborough City Council, which is currently campaigning to the Government for ‘fairer funding’, says it receives £171 less per person in government funding than an average London borough.

With Peterborough’s population at around 200,000, if the city received the same level of funding as London it would mean an extra £34.2 million of funding.

Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “The funding Peterborough currently receives is based on out-of-date information, including population estimates.

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“This is despite it being the fourth fastest growing city in the country, with the fourth highest birth rate and the 14th most deprived area in the UK, all meaning increasing demands on its services, such as temporary housing for the homeless, school places, public health and adult social care.

“I want the city to receive its fair share of funding, based on 2018 data and that is why I urge everyone to support Stand Up for Peterborough.”

He added: “We are keen to raise awareness of the Government’s Fair Funding Review consultation which runs until March 12.

“We will be responding to the consultation with a list of factors that we think should be included in a new funding formula which we hope will represent the demands on Peterborough services more accurately.”

The current government funding formula for local councils - which has been in place for longer than a decade - sees Peterborough lose out compared to other authorities due to its high growth in population over the last 10 years, and a substantial increase in the demand for its services, such as support for homeless families.

The disparity in funding has been recognised by the Government which is currently consulting on changing the system.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government said: “We are delivering a real term increase in funding to councils over the next two years and giving them more freedom, plus greater certainty, to plan ahead.

“We are also working with local government to develop a funding system for the future based on the needs of different areas.”

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, said it cannot comment specifically on Peterborough’s situation, but its chairman Lord Porter said: “The need for adequate funding for local government is urgent.

“To maximise the potential of local government and protect local services from further cuts, funding gaps must be properly addressed and local government as a whole must be allowed to keep all of the business rates it collects locally each year to put it on a sustainable footing.”

The consultation on the Government’s Fair Funding Review can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fair-funding-review-a-review-of-relative-needs-and-resources.

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