County Durham’s new Coalition Council must petition the Government to “stop punishing the poor for the mistakes of the rich” and secure funding required to rebuild public services.
Labour has called on county Coalition chiefs to secure a fair deal for Durham, to help the county not only bounce back from the impact of the pandemic, but also address inequalities in the way funding is currently distributed across the country.
Blackhall Division’s, Cllr Rob Crute, has tabled a motion to go before Full Council next week (14 July), calling on the Coalition to write to the Prime Minister demanding a commitment to ‘levelling-up’ and assurances that the council will receive adequate backing to address the social care funding crisis.
Cllr Crute said: “Two Cabinet reports last week confirm what we’ve known for years: that a decade of needless austerity has had a devastating impact on the council’s finances, and in turn on the people and communities of County Durham.
“Since the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition formed back in 2010, £245m in Government funding has been stripped from this council, all in the name of political austerity – punishing the poor for the mistakes of the rich.
“The impact has been significant, with funding for children’s social care hit particularly hard, and the costs of adult social care essentially abandoned by Government and burdened onto local council tax-payers through a 2% adult social care precept.”
Persistent delays to the Government’s Fair Funding Review, Business Rates Retention Scheme and proposed model for Social Care have created increasing uncertainty as future Durham County Council budgets are planned.
Figures published by the Local Government Association illustrate the impact austerity and Government funding cuts are having on the people of County Durham, with spending power reductions of £343 (or 16%) per household since 2011/12. This compares with spending power increases in other local authority areas such as Wokingham and Surrey.
Cllr Crute added: “This Government and the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition Government before it has had its boot on the neck of Durham County Council for well over a decade, reducing its ability to provide essential services to the people who need them most while ploughing cash into southern, traditional Conservative areas – that must stop.
“This Coalition Council must act to address this inequality and gain the certainty required from this chaotic Government. It’s time for Ministers to get their act together, and deliver on their promise to ‘level-up’ all parts of the country. They can start by funding council services to the needs of their residents, instead of handing billions of pounds of public money to rich pals to deliver failed or failing projects. In short, it’s time to put need before greed.”
Cllr Crute will ask the Council to resolve to:
Write to the prime minister and call on the government to:
- demonstrate its commitment to ‘levelling-up’ by assuring this local authority that it will not lose out financially as a result of the government’s ongoing Fair Funding Review, Business Rates Retention Scheme and forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review
- and also commit to resolving the funding crisis in Adults and Childrens Social Care and the uncertainty, potential risk and financial burden it creates for this council and the people of County Durham