Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hyndburn to bear the brunt of Osborne's next round of cuts?

CC Don Foster (Minister),
To Mr Brandon Lewis - DCLG Minister

I would like to raise with your, the minister responsible the very significant issue of transitional funding which Hyndburn Borough Council has received in the last two years to offset the scale of your cuts in the Autumn Statement of 2010 that severely affected 12 Councils.

As you will be aware, a small number of Councils received transition funding in the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2011/12 and 2012/13.  This funding protected these Councils against unsustainable reductions in their spending power, limiting the cut to 8.8% in each financial year.

For next year (2013/14) onwards Government is introducing a new funding mechanism for local government, the Business Rates Retention Scheme.  The indications are that it is not the Government’s intention to include transition grant in the calculation and a final decision on this matter is due in the next weeks. This will have a very detrimental impact on a small number of Councils, which include some of the most deprived communities in the country. As a former leader of Brentwood Borough Council I am sure you appreciate the impact this will have.

Without this transitional relief Councils affected like my own, my neighbour Burnley Council and your own, Great Yarmouth will have to consider 'the unthinkable' to balance their budgets. 

As you can see from the table of those affected the worst affected Great Yarmouth on top of all the other local government cuts will lose a further third of its funding.


Grant    £m
Transition Grant as % of Core Funding
Great Yarmouth
3.167
29.3%
Burnley
3.237
28.7%
Bolsover
1.930
25.9%
Barrow-in-Furness
2.086
25.2%
Hyndburn
2.163
23.6%
Pendle
2.216
22.1%
Hastings
2.137
23.8%
Chesterfield
0.823
10.9%
Preston
1.345
11.5%
Copeland
0.327
6.1%
Thanet
0.461
4.8%
Breckland
0.139
1.7%
Total
£20.03m
18.4%

As you can see, this table demonstrates the fundamental importance of this funding to a small number of Councils, including your own constituency.  The table also demonstrates that, in national funding terms, the bill to fix the problem fairly and properly (£20m) is modest.  It is clear to me that Government should be building this funding into the baseline calculation for the new funding regime.

I am very concerned about this and would value the opportunity to meet to discuss this very serious matter and receive your and the governments view on this matter. Hyndburn has been disproportionally hit by the cuts and unemployment continues to rise despite falls nationally.

I look forward to your swift response given the urgency of the matter,

Yours sincerely,

Graham Jones MP
Member of Parliament for Hyndburn