The Conservative leader of Cambridgeshire County Council has made an impassioned plea to the Government to put a fairer funding deal for our county at the top of their agenda.
Speaking in a new video, Councillor Steve Count calls on the Government, run by his own party, to prioritise correcting the historic “unfair formula” and asking residents to lobby their MPs to make sure this happens.
Ahead of the Autumn Statement, Cambridgeshire County Council has joined forces with county councils across the UK who suffer greatly from what Cllr Count calls “a broken formula” to ask our MPs to take a message to government to make changes to funding formula plans.
As part of this push, the council is asking people to join its #Fairdeal4Cambs Twibbon campaign which calls for fairer funding for council services in Cambridgeshire.
Despite the county being the fastest growing in the UK it ranks third from the bottom out of a total of 27 shire counties in the funding it gets from government.
If Cambridgeshire received even the average level of government funding for counties it would receive an additional £15 million to spend on vital frontline services each year.
Cllr Steve Count said: “The historic fairer funding formula is seriously undermining our ability to deliver services and means we are forced to tax our local residents to make up the difference.
“At the moment the funding formula has completely diverged from where it used to be, a fair funding formula. This has happened over many years and continues to further diverge from appropriate distribution of resources across the country today.
“We want the Government to correct a flaw in the national funding formula and are asking residents to speak to their MPs to ensure they look at this. Please support our Twibbon campaign. Together we can make our voices heard.”
County councils are the lowest funded of the upper tier councils receiving an average of £292 per resident less than councils in London and £166 less per head than metropolitan boroughs while levels of demand is rising faster in rural areas than those in more urban areas, the county council said.
“Imagine how much more we’d have to spend in Cambridgeshire if counties were treated fairly against their urban counterparts,” Cllr Count added.
Across the country referrals to children’s social care have risen most dramatically in rural councils, while they receive half the money urban councils get to deliver these services, the council added.
It said that the Local Government Association has estimated that by 2020 there will be a funding gap in children’s services across the country of at least £2 billion.
In Cambridgeshire services have come under substantial pressure in recent years with nearly a 48.8% increase in the number of Looked after Children and a 100 per cent increase in the number of children subject to a Child Protection Plan in the past four years.
The council said: “A fair deal for Cambridgeshire could provide more or enhanced services to support older people, adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs, improving the quality of their lives in their own homes and in their local communities. Also, additional placements in care and nursing settings for when this is needed.
“The current funding formula for education spending which dates back to 2005 has also led to county schools being underfunded for a number of years, with a gap of 47 per cent between the average per pupil funding received by counties and Inner London.
“This means a £2,000 gap per pupil, per year according to an unfair formula to spend on Cambridgeshire children compared to some other areas of the country.
“We are joining with other county councils to call for a fairer deal for counties. We also want the Government to take into account the additional costs and challenges of providing services in rural areas. For more information see https://www.countycouncilsnetwork.org.uk/.”