Hertfordshire County Council begs Prime Minister for more money
PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 August 2019
Hertfordshire County Council is calling on the Prime Minister to increase government investment in light of "historic under-funding".
In a letter to The Telegraph, more than 30 council leaders in England - including HCC's Conservative leader Cllr David Williams - argued that counties receive less money in government grants than urban areas.
For each resident they get £240, while urban areas receive £449 and central London gets £601.
New analysis from the County Councils Network (CCN) also shows that if the 36 councils were funded at the same per person average in England they would receive an additional £3.2bn per year.
"Historic under-funding has contributed to the perverse situation where some residents in London pay half the council tax compared to those in shire counties, while leaving counties facing a funding deficit of £11.2bn; nine times greater than in the capital," the 32 county council leaders argued in the letter.
CCN, supported by county MPs, said it has been working to redress these inequalities and get a bigger funding pot for all local authorities.
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The council leaders said: "The changing of the guard in Westminster has cast doubt over this.
"If the PM is to fulfil his pledge to level up opportunity in this country, then we must have a cast iron commitment to fair funding for our underfunded and overburdened councils."
County local authorities now have to choose between raising tax by three per cent, which would still mean they face a £2.1bn funding hole next year, and cutting back services.
CCN argues that unless the new government provides additional resources and a commitment to funding, they will have to cut back on frontline care services, repairs to potholes, streetlights and youth and sure start centres.
They said: "If the Prime Minister is to fulfil his pledge to level up opportunity in this country, then we must have a cast iron commitment to fair funding for our underfunded and overburdened councils.
"Boris Johnson knows from his time as London Mayor how the capital benefitted from more generous funding; enabling him to invest its infrastructure and local services, while cutting council tax. It is time our shire counties were given the same opportunities."